Thursday, January 14, 2010

More on Purpose

I've thought a significant amount about God's purposes for Micah. While I will never know all of the purposes God accomplished through Micah, I know I should not underestimate the purposes he successfully accomplished.

Lorraine Boettner says, “Clearly, accomplishment in life cannot be measured in terms of years alone. It often happens that those that die young have accomplished more than others who live to old age. Even infants, who sometimes have been with their parents only a few days, or even hours, may leave profound influences that change the entire course of the life of the family. And undoubtedly, from the Divine viewpoint, the specific purpose for which they were sent into the world was accomplished. It is our right to neither to end life prematurely, or to insist on its extension beyond the mark that God has set for it.” Lorraine Boettner, Immortality (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1975).

In his funeral meditation for Owen Schramek, Pastor John Piper similarly noted that God can work great purposes in each and every life, regardless of how long that life is on earth. “God's designs for Owen were decided before he was born. He would exist for the glory of God. Ten minutes of that work was on the earth. The rest will be in heaven. None of us can even begin to estimate the magnitude of either. Who knows what has been set in motion on earth by the birth and death and life of Owen Shramek. It would be wild and unwarranted folly to think he has not changed the world.”

While I know I will never know all of God’s purposes for Micah, I think it is permissible to guess what some of them could be.

1. Micah's death drove us to our knees

A friend told me yesterday at lunch that Micah's death shattered his conception that tragedy and heartbreak is what happens to people outside of our "bubble"--these things might happen in the Middle East or Haiti, but not to us. When tragedy like this happens, our only response is to cry out to God in pain. Our friends and family--and so many kind and generous people who didn't know us beforehand--have been heartbroken for us.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:3-4. To the extent that people have trusted more in Christ, or were drawn closer to God, or who have cried out to God in tears, or even those who have asked difficult questions of God for the first time, than Micah’s short life served a very noble purpose.

2. Micah's funeral gave glory to God, not anyone else

Could it be that, in some way, Micah’s short life actually made his funeral MORE purposeful? For every one person that might be positively impacted by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, there might be another person who was negatively impacted by our sin. For example, if it were my funeral, my funeral would be too much about me, and not enough about God. The fact that none of us were able to know Micah on earth as an adult made his funeral service about God, without having Micah himself in the way. God created and sustained Micah, caused Micah to breath and sleep and giggle on this earth for about 9 months, and then to take his last breath. And then God, in His grace, saved Micah eternally. It is only fitting that Micah's funeral was about God, and not about Micah. So it should be with all of our funerals.

3. Micah's death points to the gift of free salvation.

Ephesians 2:8,9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Just as Micah's funeral was more purposeful, so also is his salvation a testament to God's saving work on the cross. There was nothing that Micah did to earn his salvation. But neither is there for anyone else. What a better place to display the awesomeness of the gift of salvation than an infant's funeral.

4. Micah's death puts parenting, and everything else in life, in perspective

For so many friends of ours who attended the funeral, parenting is such a big deal. Having children of their own, they were able to empathize with our deep grief. And for them to see our loss is so significant because for them, as it was for us, the worst thing that could possibly happen in our lives. As much as we try to be good parents, we cannot control children falling out of chairs and pneumonia and the attention and care of doctors or emergency responders. God is in control, and his ways are not our ways. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, says the Lord." Isaiah 55:8. While good parenting is vitally important, I think that Micah's death is a reflection of the fact that God's eternal purposes outweigh other good things, such as good parenting. I pray that Micah's death reminds us constantly of the centrality of God in all things.

God's purposes for Micah are found in the summation of all the God-honoring things that have come about in our lives by reason of Micah’s short, sweet life and sudden, unexpected death. As far as I can tell, Micah's legacy is that our life is not about us, about our good deeds or our bad deeds, about our accomplishments or about the family we come from. Our purpose, our reason for existence, lies in God alone.

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU!!! We don't personally know you but you have so blessed us by your sharing of Micah. We feel close to him through you! Blessings ahead for the next sweet boy God has given you both.

    ~~~The Carey's