I purchased a money order about six weeks ago from my credit union. Immediately following, I drove downtown to submit the money order. I was told it would take about five weeks for it to clear. I recall the day because it was the last day of my sick leave post surgery. I recall thinking that the simple task of those two errands wiped me out because I’d been accustomed to very low levels of activity. I received paperwork for the transaction from both the credit union and the merchant, however, in a cleaning frenzy at home, I believe I threw the documents away.
Fast forward six weeks and I came to the realization that I’d still not received any confirmation of the clearance of the transaction. When I phoned the merchant, there was no record of the money order I’d submitted. I phoned the credit union and was told I needed the receipt in order for a search to commence. Needless to say, both of those phone calls left me nerved. Four days passed until I had time to visit both the credit union and the merchant. In person, I learned that it was as though the transaction never occurred at the merchant. I was asked, “Do you know the person’s name who assisted you?” Sorry I did not. At the credit union, I ran into the same issue as before, being told, “I’m sorry we need your receipt.” Thank God I’d already phoned the toll free number, by which I was informed as long as you present yourself in person, you can get the teller to do a search. So, when the pushback began, I just stood still and stated, “I was informed there is a record.” After the teller inquired with someone else, shortly thereafter, she returned with a large book, which miraculously contained a record of money order transactions. The one I’d purchased six weeks prior was found, and following a brief search, there was no evidence that the money order had been cashed. So a second one was printed, and I was told to sign on the back, “Not used for purposes intended.” Instantly, that statement rang in my spirit, and although I am guilty of being an active participant on the complaint ministry, I pray that my living doesn’t prompt our Creator to cast me aside as such.
We know, but perhaps conveniently forget that our walk with Christ will not play out without challenge. In fact, it is near impossible to separate the pain from the promise. For example, childbirth was an indescribable discomfort that although I have recollection of, I cannot recreate. However, the blessing that came forth through my daughter is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. The same is true with God. Our faith will be tested, toiled, tempted and tainted – but that is how it builds tenacity and strengthens us in places and spaces otherwise dormant. When we are compassed with trouble, we must remind ourselves that we are being used for purposes intended! Philippians 1:6 affirms: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” That “good work” is “purposeful” though it may not always appear pleasing. Further, it’s not easy. We cannot allow others to make believe a relationship with Christ that is void of difficulty, and we must be careful to not portray the same sentiment with others who are watching and walking with us. I’m not suggesting a gloom and doom reality – far from it. After all, we are afforded new mercies daily (Lamentations 3:23), but also sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Matthew 6:34). That suggests a balance between the realization that difficulty will emerge, and that God has provided enough to manage, balance, endure us through the purpose for which he sent the trouble, and for which he sent us to navigate.
There are countless people who are not living their intended purpose. I believe the Lord tarries so that we may get it together. Some days we may rest, like I did while recovering. Other days we may take all the steps instructed and find that our work appears empty, even fruitless. Still there are a few whereby we feel accomplished. Evermore, there are days where it feels as though there is a combination of all the aforementioned. Whatever our busy, whatever our lot, we must move about with confidence, with boldness, more importantly with assuredness that for all those who love God all things work together for good; for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
We can only know our “intended purpose” through our relationship with Christ. While we spend our wheels in frustration and even anger trying to determine why something happened, or why it failed, we can channel our curiosity into seeking God and better understanding how we might serve as his extension on earth. Just like the case of the money order, we must desire to see our name in the book! Each time we mummer, complain, avoid, contest and deep sigh what God sets before us, through people, places and things, we grant permissionIn for the imprint of “not used for purposes intended” to be stamped, or written on the tablets of our heart. If we consider our challenge through the lens of purpose, our interaction and our personal enlightenment and faith can be sustained in inordinate ways. In the words of Bill Withers, let us enthusiastically tell God, “Keep on using me, until you use me up!” Let us be intentional about our purpose!