I just finished Karen Kingsbury’s Just Beyond the Clouds. The story is a good one about two broken people having a difficult time moving on in their lives. But it was a secondary element that fascinated me.
In it, the heroine was a schoolteacher with a little sister who has Downs Syndrome. The heroine, after being left at the altar, becomes a teacher at a center for adults with Downs.
The part that fascinated me wasn’t that she loved what she did. We all hope for and shoot for that. It was that her joy and purpose in what she did raised a question in my mind. That question was:
That wasn’t stated in the book, but the book did trigger the thought in my mind, and I found myself asking if when I do what I do, do I feel God’s joy in it? Is He happy, sad, proud or disappointed?
To be utterly honest, I’m not sure what made me make that connection. But it stuck in my mind and I find now that I’m asking myself that a lot.
I believe that God gives us all skills and gifts that He hopes we will use wisely. To me, wisely means to honor Him. To glorify Him, so that those who happen upon or benefit from what we do, see it/us as examples of Him at work in our lives. That they will be intrigued enough to want it/Him in their lives, too. And that hope for the effort begs the question of His reaction to what we do.
Sooner or later in every life, a person asks what his or her purpose is and how s/he can go about filling it. Some stumble over it, some search most of their lives for the answer to that question. And some seem to know exactly their purpose from the cradle. There’s insight in whatever the case might be for each of us. Insight into God, and into His trust and His faith in us.
There’s also a key insight lurking there about His respect for the free will He gave us. He honors it. Even when the parent in Him wants to warn us off, or redirect our destructive behavior into constructive channels, He honors his free will gift.
So the “why am I here?” and “what am I supposed to be doing?” are normal questions. But I think the deeper question is the one revealed: When I do what I do, is God joyful?
Does He celebrate or mourn? Is he proud or ashamed? Does he laugh or weep?
You see my point. It kind of makes us see things just a little differently, doesn’t it? It did me, and I hope sharing it will do the same for you. Oh, I know we all crave parental approval, but this is the ultimate and eternal parental approval—far more significant and enduring.
And so I walk away, carrying this revelation with me. As I move through my actions and deeds and even my thoughts, I’ll be asking myself that deeper question often in planning what I can plan in my life. I think there is much to be learned in the responses.