I believe that he circumstances of our lives find their meaning when we see them fit into the story God is telling, the purposes God has for the world and the purposes God has for us in the world.
When God saved me the other night from death by automobile, God did not just save me for no reason. And God’s purposes are not generic; God’s reasons have to do with God’s story. So we all find ourselves in the middle of God’s story.
In our adult Bible study at my church we’ve been following God’s story since January. We began in Genesis, the beginning, because we get a good glimpse of God’s purposes by beginning at the beginning. But we could just as easily discern God’s purpose by beginning with the end. The end and beginning are tied together and each pole revels God’s purposes.
The Bible’s version of the end is recorded cryptically in the Book of Revelation. But it’s not so cryptic that we can’t see God’s heart. Our class looked at a few verses from the Book this past week.
After this, I saw a large crowd with more people than could be counted. They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands, as they shouted,
"Our God, who sits upon the throne, has the power to save his people, and so does the Lamb." The angels who stood around the throne knelt in front of it with their faces to the ground. The elders and the four living creatures knelt there with them. Then they all worshiped God and said, "Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen!" One of the elders asked me, "Do you know who these people are that are dressed in white robes? Do you know where they come from?" "Sir," I answered, "you must know." Then he told me: "These are the ones who have gone through the great suffering. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and have made them white. And so they stand before the throne of God and worship him in his temple day and night. The one who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will never hunger or thirst again, and they won't be troubled by the sun or any scorching heat. The Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to streams of life-giving water, and God will wipe all tears from their eyes." Revelation 7:9-17 (CEV)
This passage takes me all the way back to God’s promise to Abram in Genesis:
The LORD said to Abram: Leave your country, your family, and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you. I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others. I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you. Genesis 12:1-3 (CEV)
God’s purposes are bookended here, beginning and end. What we are living is the in-between. And all the circumstances of our lives (like my car accident) find their meaning when we see them fit into the story God is telling, the purposes God has for the world and the purposes God has for us in the world.