The opening line of “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren says, and if you know it, say it with me here, “It’s not about me”! Nope, it’s not. It’s about a multitude of other people and other things…and yet, curiously, it is about me.
God made each of us as a unique human being. He knew us long before we came about.
For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. Ephesians 2:10 (AMP)
Read that over slowly. God had a plan for you when He thought about you. You entered into His plan for you when you received Him into your life as your savior. The plan comes about by faith — in the One you invite to come live inside yourself. That’s some heavy plan.
But how can this be, you might ask? “I didn’t ask to be born,” you say. No, you didn’t. But nonetheless, you were thought about and there was a plan in place, just waiting for you to come onto the scene.
And that right there is how things get all screwed up with us. That coming onto the scene thing! We don’t ask to come here, to live this life and yet here we are. Some of us are thrown into horrific circumstances. Some of us have a fairly decent life. But I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned over the years, walking with Christ. The more folks I get to meet along this journey of life, the less I hear that shocks me anymore. I’ve heard it all.
There are those whose lives were so wrecked, they ran away from home and lived on the streets at 13 years of age. Those who suffered at the hands of abusive parents and lived through unthinkable things that shouldn’t happen to a rock! There have been cutters, alcoholics, drug addicts, murderers and rapists. Those who lied beyond reason, those who quit speaking, those who can barely make it through the day. There are those so wrecked by war that life took on colors so foreign to the rest of us that we just didn’t understand. And those who gave up on life because it was easier than going on one more day.
What does this all have to do with “it’s not about me”? Well, it’s all about us, those folks who were injured early in life and those injured later in life. God had a plan for each and every one of us. Did His plan call for these atrocities that we’ve all had to deal with? No! God’s plan doesn’t include such things, but I’ve learned that there are few Pollyanna’s in this life. You see, we’ve all been injured in one way or another. And beyond all those injuries, those sad times, those hard places, God had and still has a plan. Honest!
God knew the things we would all suffer through. If He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent as the Bible tells us He is then none of this comes as a surprise to Him. He knew all along that we would suffer – and yet He still had a plan. His plan, as it turns out, is quite ingenious. You see He knew that the enemy of our lives would bring about hard times, some very hard times, and that the enemy would whisper into our ears that if there was a God, then none of this should happen. Oh yes, God was quite familiar with the tactics of Satan. He is the epitome of a bully. If he can get you to believe that God allowed all these things to happen to you, then you won’t be very excited about allowing God into your life. And that’s Satan’s plan!
But God had a better and bigger plan. He knew all that would occur in each of our lives. He planned for it and He planned the way of escape.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)
If you are reading this today, you are living proof of my hypothesis! You lived through the horror, the dishonor, the hurts, the abuse. You are still here. You made it! It was God’s plan all along. And now, if you will let Him, He’ll show you the full power of the way of escape.
I’ve had my share of stuff, things I never in a million years thought would happen to me. But they did. There were times I didn’t think I’d survive. But I did. And do you know what? Those exact hurts, burdens and sorrows became my way through. They became my defining moments. I’m now stronger because of the hurts. I’m wiser now because God showed me the way through. Not only did He show me the way through, He pulled me through! And it has become my distinct privilege now to share my journey with others who are suffering and trying to find their way through. No, it’s not about me, and yet, it has everything to do with me and my journey. It’s the brilliant plan! Use those scarred by Satan to show the next ones in the crucible the way of escape! Absolutely brilliant!
If you find yourself in the middle of a jam, look around you. You are not the only hurting person (even though this is one of the prime lies of Satan) and chances are, there’s someone who’s been through a similar situation already in your life. Reach out to them. There is a way of escape and it usually looks like another person who knows exactly what you’re going through! It is one of the most confounding truths of life. It’s not about me…and yet it is, as I share my story and grab another’s hand to show them the way through. Brilliant God, just brilliant!