I was once browsing in an antique store and found an item that I did not recognize. I did not know what it was, or its purpose. Holding up the item, I asked a clerk, “What did they use this for?”
There is something about being human that wants to know purpose, or the reason for being. Deep down we long to know what we are here for. As a pastor and chaplain, I talk with countless people wanting to know their purpose. They struggle for meaning in their lives.
One of the things I like about the psalmist David is that he was so keen on purpose, on his reason for being. We see this in David’s Psalm 57, where the superscription at the top tells us that David wrote the psalm “when he fled from Saul, in the cave.” David further directs that the psalm be sung to the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” This psalm obviously comes from one of the darkest chapters in David’s life as he spends the decade of his twenties on the run.
David begins the psalm with a cry to God:
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by.” (v. 1)
Then in the next verse David expresses confidence in God fulfilling His purpose for David’s life:
“I cry to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” (v. 2)
With armies in hot pursuit, David prays to God whom he knows will fulfill the purpose for his troubled life.
In yet another psalm David expresses his strong sense of life purpose:
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble,(Psalm 138:7-8)
you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
and your right hand delivers me.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
Your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.”
Even though besieged by enemies threatening his life, David is confident in God’s purpose for him. We fast-forward 1,000 years to the New Testament Book of Acts where it is recorded: “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his generation, died” (Acts 13:36). What an inspiring eulogy over the life of a man with so many triumphs and tribulations!
These confident words about purpose remind me of Paul’s reassuring words about God fulfilling His purpose for us: “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
I began this reading by remembering a time in an antique store, wondering the purpose of something. Sometimes we wonder our purpose and why God put us here at this particular time and place. We can be encouraged and renewed knowing that God has a purpose for each of us. Like David, we each have our own special reason for being. God will complete the work He began in us!
Name and reflect on the thoughts and feelings today’s reading stirs in you. Take a few moments to talk with God about them.