C.S. Lewis once said ‘hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny’ and I believe that in many cases he is right but I think too that hardships can refine you, shape you, not for some ‘great’ destiny but rather simply to make you into a better version of yourself, the version that God created you to be.
I have been told that God has a reason for Josh’s struggles, for our suffering while we walk him through these years and there is a part of me that really longs for that to be true, I want to believe that God has some HUGE future for Josh, something so amazing that all of this will be worth it. I want to look back from that place in the future and see a reason, to get the answers to the tougher questions that I have had to ask God. However, I have to wonder at what our idea of ‘great destiny’ is, and is it compatible with what God sees as a ‘great destiny’.
I was thinking about Jesus this morning, here is a man who was born in a stable, with the stench of cows coming on the heals of his first breath on earth. Here is a guy who had to work for 30 something years as a lowly carpenter, hands full of splinters and hardened by years of blisters. Here is a guy who, when he finally got to work (full time) on his ‘great destiny’ was laughed at, ridiculed, tormented and eventually tortured and killed. Yet, he had the greatest purpose in all of time, his story has passed from generation to generation, his accomplishments and teaching cross all religions, have shaped culture and law, even if you don’t believe he was the son of God, you know who he is, you have heard of his teachings and you most likely (at the very least) believe he was a good person, with good morals and maybe even a prophet. His ‘great destiny’ was unmatchable, yet my guess is that at the time, when he was bent over the rough table, sanding it smooth, he didn’t look much like a guy who had great things ahead of him.
Of course, I realize that he is the son of God, so to compare ourselves to him is a mute point; however, it does raise questions in me. What a ‘great destiny’ is to God, is not necessarily stardom, riches, success on the corporate latter, it’s not wealth or fame, it’s not incredible talent or brains. My best guess is that it means, humbleness to serve, love to reach those in need across the oceans and in our own back yards, compassion to forgive those who have hurt us and those we love, and when the day is done, words that give only God the glory for all that he has done in our life. How do we achieve this ‘great destiny?’ I believe that one of the ways that God leads us there is through hardships, just as the late Mr. Lewis says.