I’m a big fan of to-do lists. When I start a project they tell me what I have to accomplish; later they tell me what I’ve already completed, and what I have left to do. They keep me organized – letting me know what I should work on next, and they provide a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment when I can cross things off the list. Like many people, I often have a lot going on, and to-do lists help me make sure that everything that needs to get done gets completed.
There are times that I wish God gave me a to-do list – a specific set of projects that He wants me to complete. I would guess I’m not alone. Although keeping His commands should be on all of our lists, we often wish some of the more personal decisions in life were a little clearer – Where should I live? Where should I work? Who should I marry? What ministry should I serve in at church? The answers to these questions are different for different people and a divine to-do list would certainly help make the decisions easier.
But God rarely works like this. God doesn’t specifically lay out in advance all the things that He has planned for our lives. Instead, His children know this; if we are still here, there are still things on our list that He still wants us to do.
I was reminded of this recently. As I’ve written about previously (here, here and here), I have a dear friend who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. What I hadn’t yet shared on this blog is that within three days of her diagnosis, my friend’s health took a sharp decline to the point that we all said our good-byes. There was sadness in those farewells as we knew we would miss her, but there was also hopefulness as we knew that she was not only prepared, but eager to be in the presence of her King. She was ready for Heaven, and it appeared that Heaven was ready for her.
However, through a series of what can only be described as providential events, a day after saying our goodbyes she was alert enough to see a specialist who scheduled surgery. The surgery was successful, the prognosis hopeful, and my friend is still with us today. While just like with every person, we don’t know how long we have with her, we are grateful for the “extra innings.” However it’s hard not to feel that perhaps she got the short-end of the deal. She was at Heaven’s door, yet God had her stay here. And the only reason I can think that would be is that there are still things on this side of Heaven for her to do. There are still works that God wants to use her to complete.
And if you’re reading this, the same is true for you.
Now it’s your turn:
How should knowing that God has things He wants to accomplish in and through us change how we live our lives?