Our pastor made an excellent observation today. He noted that we view our lives as independent people. We want God to give us lives that will make us happy, healthy, comfortable, fulfilled. We rarely contemplate the effects our lives (or what God gives us) will have on others. After all, it's all about me, right?
Our pastor offered a different perspective. What if I asked God to give me a life that made His people happy, healthy, comfortable, fulfilled? What if the point of my life were to benefit God's people -- His church -- instead of myself? Okay, so that's an old idea, but look at it practically:
Perhaps my trials are for the benefit of other Christians.
Perhaps my sufferings will make them healthy.
Perhaps my sorrows will bring them comfort later.
How often have the sufferings of Christians from hundreds of years ago, helped, comforted and benefited you?
Our pastor encouraged us to see ourselves as part of a larger plan, to see our lives and what God brings about, as necessary pieces in a big puzzle. My life may not bring me happiness, health, comfort, or satisfaction in and of itself. But it can still bring those things to others, in ways I can't anticipate. I found this comforting today. It doesn't make me feel like a pawn in a game; it makes me feel useful, valuable, in ways I can't imagine now.