Six times in the scripture your destiny is mentioned as something that the Lord has foreordained since before the foundation of the world. This is an encouraging and wonderful thing, to think that God elected you and I to enjoy him forever. However, there is more to predestination than personal salvation from sin and a home in Heaven. In fact, every time predestination is mentioned there is one thing not far behind. Can you guess what it is?
It begins in Acts 4:28, when the disciples are praying, saying to God that he did, “Whatever your hand and purpose predestined to occur” to Jesus. Then in Romans 8:29-30 when Paul mentions we are predestined to become like Jesus, he describes what that looks like by using Jesus’ crucifixion as a model when he says in verse 32, “He did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all.” Then in I Corinthians 2:7 Paul says, “We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory.” What is the hidden wisdom of God that he predestined? He mentions it in verse 8 when he says the Jewish leaders, “Crucified the Lord of glory.” Then in Ephesians 1:5 and 11, Paul mentions our predestined adoption as sons and receiving an inheritance, but he does so while mentioning in verse 7 the, “Redemption through his blood.”
If Jesus’ suffering and death was predestined, and we have become sons of God through adoption, then why should we not expect to also endure suffering as Jesus did? Adoption as sons and a home in Heaven come with a price, that we be willing to join Jesus in his suffering. And if we suffer, then just like Jesus, we will be given what is necessary to endure it. In fact, there’s one scripture that promises this, and it’s not a scripture you may have thought of. It’s Philippians 4:13. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” But this doesn’t mean what you think it may mean. Paul said this from prison, not a comfortable home with a coffee in one hand and leather-bound Bible in the other. Paul said this in the context of his suffering. The best way to translate this passage, in light of the surrounding text is to say, “I can endure all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Each of us have a destiny. For some, for many, suffering is a normal part of the Christian life. They “endure” while we watch from afar. What is your destiny? Is it to join them in their suffering? Is it to offer encouragement and support from far away? What does that look like?
Our lives are not our own. We do not decide what to do with our lives. Jesus decides what he will do with our lives. He wrote our destiny long before he uttered the words, “Let there be light.” Our job, whether we are to suffer or offer aid, is to embrace what God has decided to write into our lives and remain faithful until the end.