Okay, so for those of you who don’t regularly read the EC Columns, here’s my column for the next issue. Let the feeding frenzy begin. I titled it, as above, “Showcase Showdown.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the word ‘destiny.’ I have heard countless speakers reminding me that I have a destiny, and I need to track it, fight to get to it, seize it, and mount it on my wall. Wait, that’s deer hunting.
Seriously, we in the church talk endlessly about destiny. We put slogans about it on coffee mugs, T-shirts, and pens. We engrave it on plaques and paperweights. We hold it up like a talisman against evil. It’s funny, though, that my “destiny” always seems to involve triumphing over evil forces standing in the way of more and better stuff for me: better job, better life; better car, better wife. In that way, some say, I can be a “showcase” full of trophies that demonstrate God’s might.
Destiny as they describe it never seems to involve suffering or pain, or even discomfort. Sometimes destiny involves exactly those things. Consider the man, blind from birth, whom Jesus heals in John 9. The disciples want to know what caused his illness, and Jesus replies: “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).
If you meditate on that statement awhile, it might go off like a time bomb in your heart. A man was born blind “so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Now, I’m not saying that God sits in heaven determining which “lucky” one of us gets “blessed” with an incurable disease so we can be healed after years of suffering. But if my destiny is to “display the works of God,” which I believe it is, suddenly everything that happens to me, good and bad, takes on deep significance. My destiny is right here, right now; I’m carrying it around in a clay jar (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). I don’t need to seize it; I need to surrender to it. When I do, I will be a showcase for God’s greatest work, a new life made possible by Jesus.