I finished reading Karen Kingsbury’s Just Beyond the Clouds. The story is a good one about two broken people having a difficult time moving on in their lives. But it was a secondary element that fascinated me.
In it, the heroine was a schoolteacher with a little sister who has Downs Syndrome. The heroine, after being left at the altar, becomes a teacher at a center for adults with Downs.
The part that fascinated me wasn’t that she loved what she did. We all hope for and shoot for that. It was that her joy and purpose in what she did raised a question in my mind. That question wasn’t stated in the book, but the book planted the thought in my mind, and I found myself asking:
When I do what I do, do I feel God’s joy in it? Is He happy, sad, proud or disappointed?
To be utterly honest, I’m not sure what made me make that connection. But it stuck in my mind and I find now I’m asking myself those questions a lot.
God gives us all skills and gifts He hopes we will use wisely. To me, wisely means in ways that honor Him. Glorify Him, so that those who happen upon or benefit from what we do, see the work and/or us as examples of Him at work in our lives. That they will be intrigued enough to want it/Him in their lives, too. And that hope for the effort begs the question of His reaction to what we do.
Sooner or later in every life, a person asks what his or her purpose is and how s/he can go about filling it. Some stumble over it, some search most of their lives for the answer to that question. And some seem to know exactly their purpose from the cradle. There’s insight in whatever the case might be for each of us. Insight into God, and into His trust and His faith in us.
There’s also a key insight lurking there about His respect for the free will He gave us. He honors it. Even when the parent in Him wants to warn us off, or redirect our destructive behavior into constructive channels, He honors His free will gift.
So the “Why am I here?” and “What am I supposed to be doing?” are normal questions. But I think the deeper question is the one revealed: When I do what I do, is God joyful?
Does He celebrate or mourn? Is he proud or ashamed? Does he laugh or weep?
You see my point. It kind of makes us see things just a little differently, doesn’t it? It did me, and I hope sharing it will do the same for you. Oh, I know we all crave parental approval, but this is the ultimate and eternal parental approval—far more significant and enduring.
And so I walk away, carrying this revelation with me. As I move through my actions and deeds and even my thoughts, I’ll be asking myself that deeper question often in planning what I can plan in my life. I think there is much to be learned and gained in the responses.
Beautiful thought, Vicki. I love the fact that the heroine loved what she did, as well. I think we feel joy when we’re doing what God calls us to do in our life’s work. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe others struggle, I don’t know.
i have never really considered that, but what an awesome thought to work so that God might have joy in what we do! And does He have joy in what i do because i have joy in it, or just because i am glorifying Him? Wonderful things to think about, Vicki
It was for me too, Marianne. And it hit me how seldom I asked myself HIS reaction. I focused on my own. Working on that!
What a great thought! To think of the joy God gets when He sees us using our time and talents not only for Him but with and through Him. Thank you for sharing your insight.