Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Lord's Prayer"1 (Lyrics)
In the much-beloved movie about a slower-than-normal young boy, Forrest Gump sat before his dying mother and asked, "What's my destiny, Momma?"
Momma Gump's definition of destiny was similar to that for fate. She didn't know, and Forrest would have to figure it out for himself.
"Why am I here?" The question normally surfaces during adolescence and can haunt us into our adult years. Never figuring it out leads to a life of ups and downs and failure to achieve the happiness and peace of doing what God created us for.
Joseph was probably a teenager when his brothers sold him to a band of Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt and sold him into slavery. But through imprisonment, mistreatment, false accusations, and being forgotten by those he helped, he was eventually elevated to the second-highest position in the land.
When Joseph became the distributor of food during a seven-year famine, his brothers had to appear before the brother they had sold but didn't recognize. After he revealed his identity, they feared that Joseph would enact revenge, but he reassured them:
Genesis 45:5 – And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. (NIV)
Like Forrest, Joseph didn't originally understand his destiny, but through his misfortunes, he figured it out: God sent him ahead to preserve his family.
For those who believe in fate, there is no one in control. Fate just happens. On the other hand, destiny is God-ordered and controlled. He sees what we don't, and plans for what we can only imagine. It's not His purpose to hide it, but it normally takes time and events for us to discover it.
Parents are responsible for helping children to determine their destiny and to show by example that they are following God's destiny for them.
We need to pay attention to what comes naturally for us. These are our gifts and talents. Then, we need to pray that God will blaze a path before us, revealing His plan and giving us opportunities to live out the destiny that He has in mind for each of us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, when we can't see what You have in store for us, open our eyes so that we can realize Your wonderful future. Amen.