I was reading Psalm 138 this morning and God brought His Word in such a timely manner:
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love
and your faithfulness
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
-Psalm 138:2, 8
Now the first thing to notice of course is how God has exalted above all things His name and His word. This emphasizes again the importance of seeking to be in the presence of God where there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11) and to be spending time in His word, which he has graciously given us that we may know Him more. I am learning more and more each day how vital God's word is for every aspect of my life and how in turn this draws me closer and closer to God Himself.
But what struck me more today was Psalm 138:8, "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me..." It could not have come at a better time as I have a tendency to contemplate and wrestle through God's purpose for my life and why I am actually here. I know for sure this is something everyone does, asking often existential questions like, "Who am I?" or "Why am I here?" Juniors and seniors in college are more likely to ask "What's next?" to themselves and to others (those who aren't are busy partying at the #1 party school in the nation...oh UF...). Purpose is brought into question when people of all ages and walks of life get stuck in a routine and wonder, "Is this it?"
So I know I am not alone, but I know this is something I think about often, wondering if I am somehow squandering away the gifts God has given me or if I am somehow not doing what He wants. Even last night as I was getting ready for bed, I questioned how seminary fits into the grand scheme of all God wants me to do in the time I am here on earth, making the most of it because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16) and my life is like a breath (Psalm 144:4).
As I reflect, I must ask the question to myself, "Can I say with confidence like David that the Lord will fulfill his purpose for me?" Do I recognize that it is because of my Father's steadfast love that He will do what He wants with me life, regardless of how people in this world perceive it as "success" or "failure?" My Father's love endures forever and ultimately it is only His love that matters!
I also find it beautiful that this last verse is Psalm 138 leads right into Psalm 139, which reveals God's intimate knowledge of David--and me!--as David writes:
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
Nothing about is is kept secret from God. Before I was ever a thought in my mom's mind, before she was ever a thought in her mom's mind, I was being made in secret by God. My Father knew me before I came into any kind of form and His purpose for me had been mapped out before I, or the world itself, was even conceived! Paul spells this out rather well in Ephesians, tying God's eternal purpose for me into the reality of Jesus Christ's coming:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
And not only in fulfilling God's purpose of His adoption of me through Jesus Christ, but also in His purpose for the works I walk in by His grace:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We all must be assured and trust that God will fulfill his purpose for our lives. He is sovereign. He is in control. He does what he pleases (Psalm 115:3; 135:6). I must trust in Him and His plan, regardless of the plans that I may make for my life and the dreams that I may have. Some of them are good to be sure and as I delight myself in the Lord, He will give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4), but I also know that some of my dreams and plans have selfish, sinful motives.
The lesson I am learning along with the beautiful truth that God will fulfill His purpose for me is that I have to be patient with Him and His timing! I close with another Psalm that speaks volumes in and of itself on patience. See the connection between waiting, hope, God, and His word. Meditate on it and pray through how that can lead into trusting Him for the purpose of your life.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in His word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
By His Grace.