Serving God's Purpose in my Fleeting Days...

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep...Acts 13:36a

A few years ago, my husband had what I call "a heart episode" -- not a heart attack, praise God, but an issue with his heart rhythms that sent him to the emergency room.  Since John had had a "widow maker" heart attack several years before, the docs decided to keep him in the hospital and run some tests.

I kissed John good-by that night and went home.  I had perfect peace that John was in good hands...and most of all, the Great Hands of our Healer God!  Exhausted by the long day, I hastily sent out an email to some of our "prayer peeps," asking for prayer for John and signing it with Acts 13:36a.  The Lord had just reminded me of this verse a week or two before as I was sharing with a small Bible study group.  My friend Jenna, who had been a part of that group, jokingly responded to my email, "Are you sure you want Acts 13:36?  Are we praying that John live or die (fall asleep)?"

For those of you who may also be a bit confused as to why I would share Acts 13 in a prayer request for John's health, let me give a little background:

My fascination with this truth began several years before.  My husband John was leading us through the book of Acts in our kinship group.  Maps went up on the screen, the journeys of Paul were clarified, even drawings and photos of archaeological dig sites were explained and imagined!  I don't remember much to tell you the truth.   But I do remember the above verse.  It really hit me like a ton of bricks...and as I've meditated on it and mulled over it for days and weeks and months and even years, it has brought me tremendous encouragement and peace.  Why, you may ask?

Well, as an answer to that question, here's my PS to my praise report sent to our praying friends the following week:

For those of you who may have been confused as to my verse -- it's a great comfort to me that our life on earth will not end until God has fulfilled His purpose through each of us in our generation!  Amen to Acts 13:36A!

And isn't that what life is all about for us children of so let Him live and love and serve through us that His great purpose in His Son, from before time began, will be worked out in and through our human lives on this earth.  What an awesome privilege and hope!  We are part of something bigger than us!

There's a song that I discovered last year that makes me think of my Acts 13 verse.  It wasn't long after hearing for the first time this haunting melody (Johann Sebastian Bach's melody "Wachet Auf" played on folk instruments) and the accompanying song, that I started playing it in my car on my way to work each day.

It moves me to think that the Lord Christ uses the work I do each day to accomplish His purpose -- to glorify Himself and build His kingdom.

That's because He lives His life through me His child, His disciple, His instrument.

I particularly love one of the lines:

May we...Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days...

It reminds me of my verse.  I love to take David's name out and put my name in:

Jan, when she has served the purpose of God in her generation, will fall asleep...into the Arms of Abba Father God!

And perhaps you would like to fill in the blank with your name...

________________, when he/she has served the purpose of God in his/her generation, will fall asleep...into the Arms of Abba Father God!

...and then join me in this prayer:

Oh Father, may I serve your purpose in my own generation!

Before You I kneel, my Master and Maker
To offer the work of my hands.
For this is the day You’ve given You’re servant;
I will rejoice and be glad
For the strength I have to live and breathe;
For each skill Your grace has given me;
For the needs and opportunities
That will glorify You great Name.

Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodness
To cover the work of my hands.
For patience and peace to shape all my labor,
Your grace for thorns in my path.
Flow within me like a living stream,
Wear away the stones of pride and greed
‘till Your ways are dwelling deep in me
And a harvest of life is grown.

Before You we kneel, Our Master and Maker;
Establish the work of our hands.
And order our steps to seek first Your kingdom
In every small and great task.
May we live the gospel of Your grace,
Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days,
Then our lives will bring eternal praise
And all glory to Your Name.

Before You I Kneel (A Worker's Prayer), Keith & Kristyn Getty

a double whammy for women?

I had an arresting thought the other day! There at the First Watch restaurant, during a lovely mid-morning brunch with a friend, in the midst of a conversation about the struggles we face in our jobs, something dawned on me that I had never thought of before...or heard from anyone (unless it was, at the time, a "senior moment").   Pouring out from my lips came this truth:

You know, Linda.  It just dawned on me that we working women are laboring under both curses:  the one for Adam as well as the one for Eve!

In case you have forgotten, the curse on Eve, because of her choice of independence from God instead of dependence, was:

I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you. Genesis 3:16 NLT

For those of us who have given birth, we know that pain well.  And the curse carries further into the "birthing" and "nurturing" of relationships.  Our relationships are so important to us women and, therefore, the cause of most of our pain in life.  And need I say anything about the interesting "tugs of war" we experience in our marriages?  At times, I've thought of my husband as my "Beloved Adversary," to be perfectly honest.

But as if that weren't enough, it seems that we've taken on Adam's curse as well:

...the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return. Genesis 3:17-19 NLT

So as we go out into the workplace, things don't come easily as we try to "scratch out a living" (or help our husbands to do so).  There are problems in the job itself, not enough money, "irregular people" and the list goes on.

So how do we handle it all?  How did the Proverbs 31 woman bear up under the load?  (It seems even she was out in the workplace at times in her life).  I don't have any new, amazing insights except what is true about all of life no matter what the situation:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3: 5-6 NLT

...a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Proverbs 30:30 NLT

Any thoughts?