I don’t like to apologize. There’s just something about admitting you’re mistaken that makes you want to crawl in a hole somewhere – right?
But I must confess that I really like Mumford and Sons One Direction’s The Story of My Life, and because of that I beg forgiveness to all the Directioners out there for previously referring to 1D as an “X-Factor manufactured and overwhelmingly hair-flipping boy band whose one direction is one dimensional (ahem) music.”
And while I still maintain that watching their videos places us in danger of losing IQ points by the dozens, the official video of The Story of My Life admittedly tugged on my heartstrings and demonstrated that One Direction is talented enough to go, well, a different direction.
As I watched the images of the boys reflecting on their past, I wondered what snapshots I would recall from my childhood as I put together the story of my life. Would they be fond pictures of joyous family times? Or would the pictures reflect the conflict and turmoil that I suppose every person on the planet experiences in his/her upbringing?
Either way, I was glad 1D made the video, because that four minute and eight second experience reminded me of an eternal assurance from God that He gave to those who have a relationship with Him:
“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).
This was a promise given to God’s people living in captivity2500 years ago, but it definitely has meaning for us today. For the Hebrews, the story of their life was rebellion and idolatry, so God allowed them to be conquered and captured. They suffered in the short run so they would choose what was best in the long run, and in the midst of their trials, God reassured them that despite their past, because of their willing spirit to turn from sin, He would grant them a “hope and a future.”
Maybe you are reading this and you relate to what they were going through. The story of your life is pain, regret, and even spiritual captivity. The pictures you develop from your childhood are stinging reminders of turmoil that suck the hope out of your spirit when you think about the years to come.
When those memories crash through the walls you’ve built around them, remember that your Father has plans to prosper you and give you a hope and a future. This does not mean huge mansions, million dollar paychecks, and a care free life – in fact following Jesus might bring more earthly tribulation than you had before. But in the midst of it all, He is making you more like Jesus and using you for THE Cause of making disciples who make disciples – and nothing is more “prosperous” than that!
And as if that weren’t enough of a great promise – check this out
Every detail of my life was already written in Your book;
You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it (Psalm 139:16, The Voice)
This is not “proof” that God has determined everything, rather it is a promise that our all-knowing Father has laid out a path for us to choose, and when we follow it, we truly taste the “sweetness” of life!
Every second brings you the choice and the chance to walk in obedience to the high calling and great privilege of following Jesus. Each moment represents an adventure in loving and giving to others in the name of Christ. Each day you are empowered to bring those around you closer to Jesus.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of snapshots from my life will be developed when I get to heaven. Will there be frozen moments of the people who were the recipients of God’s love and grace because I chose to live like Jesus? Or will there be a room full of photos that demonstrate my selfish and self-centered tendencies?
May you wrestle with the same questions, my friend. And may you also rest in the fact that God wants to prosper you, and give you a hope and a future for His glory.
Why? Because He knows the story of your life!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
The Story of My Life is a great reminder of God’s compassionate and faithful care over our lives. Because our days are written in His Book, we can go out with confidence and boldness to live for THE Cause of Christ!
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Father, thank You for giving us a hope and a future. May we follow the path you have appointed for us, so we can be used by You to bring others to Jesus.
Read: Romans 8:29-30. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
Get: If you or your friends are struggling with a painful past, know that you needn’t struggle alone. Reach out and get help. Connecting with your youth leader is good place to start, or talk to a trusted teacher or counselor at your school. If you aren’t comfortable confiding in someone you know personally, call one of the hotlines below or visit these websites. They’ll connect you with people who are trained to help.
Dawson McAllister Hopeline 1-800-394-HOPE (1-800-394-4673) or www.thehopeline.com/getHelp
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Big Idea: God knows the story of our lives, and He gives us the choice to follow His ideal plan every day.
Key Scripture: Psalm 139:16
- What snapshots do you recall from childhood?
- How has God used your past to prosper you?
- Is it comforting to know that God has all the days of our lives written out? Why or why not?
- How can you use this Soul Fuel to share the gospel and advance THE Cause of Christ?