Seriously, what am I doing here? This question was running through my head as I stood in front of the restroom mirror, trying desperately to get bloodstains out of my sweater. Our Newcomer Women’s Bible study started in 15 minutes, and I looked as if I’d just stepped out of a horror movie.
Right after finishing the morning’s sound checks, I turned to take Josie, my 13-month-old bundle of crazy, to childcare. At that moment she decided to test her diving skills and squarely face-planted on the stage’s hardwood steps. The screaming lasted only a few moments, but the blood poured profusely from her tiny busted lip, soiling her Hello Kitty pajamas (yes, mid-morning and she was still in her pajamas). Josie, never one to pass on an opportunity to acknowledge her many admirers, noticed all of the attention. Her tears stopped, and she began blowing bloody kisses to the horrified onlookers. At that moment, I wondered if I should’ve just stayed in bed.
Life happens at breakneck speed. Often we run as hard as we can, with a goal of just getting through the moment. Such a pace does not lend itself to answering significant questions. However, in those moments when things do slow down, we cannot help but ask if there is a better way to deal with the craziness that intrudes on and dominates our lives.
To guide us during those hectic and chaotic times, we need to have answered questions such as, What are our goals for life? Are they achievable? Is there something bigger, better, different that we should be giving our lives to? Why have we been placed on this earth?
For Jesus, the purposeful life was the surrendered life—one surrendered to His Father’s purposes.
As a Christian seeking purpose, I’ve found there’s no better place to look than the life of Jesus Christ Himself. Each gospel describes His purposeful living in slightly different ways. Starting in chapter one of Mark, for instance, it is as though we’ve joined a conversation already in progress. In the span of a few verses, we find Jesus being baptized by John, withstanding temptation in the wilderness, calling His disciples to follow Him, casting out unclean spirits, and healing Simon’s mother-in-law as well as countless other hurting people. (And you thought you had a busy life!)
In verse 35, we read that Jesus rose early to spend time with His Father. The Scriptures don’t tell us the particulars, but I imagine Jesus’ prayers may have sounded like this: “Father, what do You want Me to do today? My life is Yours. I have no agenda apart from Your agenda, so say the word and I will go.”
It was during this prayer time that the inevitable interruption came from His eager disciples: “Everyone is looking for You!” Only a few verses prior, we read that the whole city of Capernaum had gathered to see Jesus. The town was buzzing over this man who could give sight to the blind and bid the lame to walk. Yet Jesus’ response must have confused the disciples: “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for” (v. 38). And with those words, Jesus left. He knew the needs that remained in Capernaum. He had heard the cries of the hurting people, yet Jesus said He must go preach the gospel to the next town. This is why He came.
For Jesus, the purposeful life was the surrendered life—one surrendered to His Father’s purposes. Jesus came not simply to be a good teacher or a good healer, but to tell good news to people literally dying to hear it. Perhaps it would have been easier to stay in Capernaum and become a celebrity, but Jesus knew the road He was to travel. And even though He healed the physical needs of many that day, His road would result in wounds that would bring healing to all of humanity. This is why He came.
But what does this mean to us? What does this mean for our purpose? Let me give you two examples from my own family.
I’ve served as a worship leader for a little over eight years, and when I am not leading worship, I have the privilege of touring with other Christian artists. By Josie’s first birthday, she’d visited 35 states and had two stamps on her passport! This may not be the right lifestyle for other families, but we believe this is God’s calling for ours—to share the truths of Scripture through song to anyone who will listen. This is why He came.
God has also taken us on a spiritual journey involving my husband’s health. Within the first two years of our marriage, Martin was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Though we have fervently prayed for complete healing, he still lives with a vision and memory deficit that complicates life for us. With every new challenge involving Martin’s disability, we are learning to embrace brokenness and weakness. Neither Martin nor I would have chosen this path, but we cannot deny that God is using it to advance His kingdom: the Lord uses brokenness to cultivate eternal fruit within us, and our weakness is the stage on which divine strength is showcased. This is why He came.
So that morning, staring at myself in the bathroom mirror, I was reminded why I am here. In all of my mess, my shortcomings, and my inadequacy, my purpose is simply to be faithful as God works in and through me. Even though I am often scattered and shattered, I have come to know that God is my God and that I can just be me. The better I get to know Him as my Father, my Savior, and my Healer, the more His purpose becomes my purpose. This is the gospel: truly good news that Jesus has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. This is why He came.