By Katie Freer
Freedom to travel, sunny weather that lasts longer than just a day or two, and the best gelato in the world. ‘What is she on about?’ you may think. Well, it’s July 2019 and I’m sitting in a beautiful sunny park in the centre of Verona, Italy, with a close childhood friend of mine. Knowing that we had a week of sun, fun and food ahead, we decided to read a book together to encourage one another in our faith. We chose ‘Don’t waste your life’ by John Piper.
If I am completely honest, I don’t think we actually finished the book (nothing to do with the content, just our slow reading!) However from what we did read, I was thoroughly challenged to consider what I believed a good and fulfilling life to be.
If you’re anything like me, you have plans and goals for your life and, providing that you complete them, you let yourself believe that you’ll be fulfilled and satisfied. Yet what happens when a global pandemic, or something similar, swoops in and shatters our plans and expectations for the next days, weeks and months? All of a sudden we can’t visit that country we were planning to, and we can’t start that new job, or we can’t have the celebration we have planned so long for. What happens then? Does each day just become a waste until we get back to normal? (I think and hope not!)
At times over the last year I have certainly found myself thinking of all the things I could have been doing if it wasn’t for the restrictions, alongside feeling that I have been wasting time by not ticking off plans from my imaginary bucket list. Don’t get me wrong I’m not against bucket lists, but there is a danger of pinning all of our hope of fulfilment on completing every activity we have listed. However, through this time of mixed emotions and feeling that my life lacked excitement and value, I was able to remember a sentence from the book that stuck with me on that holiday in Verona: “A life lived for Christ is a life well lived.”
As Christians we can be sure of our purpose here in this life, no matter what situation we are in. To live for Jesus Christ, the one who died to know us, and to live for the glory of God. We don’t have to doubt our purpose or our value, even when we haven’t done, or are unable to do, what we had planned.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future.” (Jeremiah 29: 11)
As mentioned in the book, so often we think that pursuing God’s glory and pursuing joy are two different paths, yet we fail to realise that it is just one path. This path of life, only made available through faith in Jesus, is one that offers promised joy and peace now and for all eternity.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalms 16:11)
For those reading this (thank you for getting this far!) who are already believers, I want to encourage you to keep seeing your purpose and value in living a life for Jesus. Rest assured that God has a plan for your life, and whilst that may be so different to what you have imagined, his plans are perfect. For those who may not yet be believers in Jesus, I pray that you might consider the life of joy, purpose and forgiveness that Jesus offers, to each and everyone one of us. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15)