God has a plan, purpose for every life

Published 8:05 am Saturday, June 17, 2017

The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you discovered why you were born.

Since I heard author/minister Chuck Swindoll make that statement last week on his radio program, it’s been on my mind.

After hearing his thought-provoking statement, I watched news reports of a Huntsville church bus accident near Atlanta. The bus was carrying 38 passengers, most of them 11th and 12th graders, to catch a flight to Africa for a mission trip.

According to reports, 24 passengers were hospitalized due to their injuries. There was one fatality – identified as 17-year-old Sarah Harmening. Following her death, her parents spoke to the media declaring that “Sarah was a gift to us that was given on Dec. 20, 1999.

“And she loved the Lord with a love that was tangible,” her mother, Karen, tearfully began their remarks, “…it’s what she lived and breathed for.” They told about Sarah’s excitement about the trip. “She earned all the money to go and share Christ with children of Botswana.”

Then Karen read her daughter’s final thoughts she had written in a journal while traveling to Atlanta, “I was just sitting here on the bus feeling a little sad. I guess because I’m going to be gone so long and I was a little uncomfortable. Then I decided to read my Bible. I prayed and opened up to 1 Peter 5 and 2 Peter 1. Pretty much everything I read applied to me now. It talked about watching over the flock entrusted to you which would be my little buddies in Botswana.”

The day before the accident, Sarah had texted her sister another Bible verse from 1 Peter, adding these words, “Life is not about us, it’s about God who is eternal, and I want to dedicate the one moment I’m here completely and entirely to him.”

Sarah only lived 17 years, but her life made an impact on her family, church, and people like me who never met her.

In 1956, after two years of ministering in the jungles of Ecuador, a 29-year-old missionary named Jim Elliot and three other missionaries were killed by a remote tribe of Auca Indians. Earlier, Elliot wrote in his journal, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

“During his life, Jim Elliot longed for more people to become missionaries. In his death, however, he probably inspired more people to go to other countries to share the love of Jesus than he ever could have in life,” states Christianity.com.

“Measured against eternity, our time on earth is just a blink of the eye,” states Rick Warren in his best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. He went on to say, “You discover your identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

As one of my favorite Scriptures reads, ‘”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

Warren writes, “Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. With meaning, life has no significance or hope.”


– Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at jwhite@andycable.com.