One of the standard getting-to-know-you questions at the conference, after “Where are you from?” and “What do you do?”, was “Why are you here?”
I wasn’t exactly sure why was there. For refreshment, yes: I found that there. To meet new friends: I did. To learn things: I learned. To be challenged: I was.
But also — and I realize it now that I’m home, feeling vaguely disappointed — I went looking for purpose. I went with somewhere in the back of my mind the hope that someone would look me in the face and say, “Stacy, this is your purpose in life, go and do it.” And then I would go and do it; I would be fired with purpose, no longer bothered by the things other people do and have that I do not and have not. I wanted it to be life-changing.
It’s funny about that idea of “life-changing,” the way we tend to mean big things, visions and prophecies and new directions. The fact is, every day, every moment, is life-changing. The tiniest action is a decision against all other actions in that moment: we don’t know what changes may be wrought by the decision to walk in one direction rather than another.
The conference was life-changing. My world is bigger: in place of the abstract ideas of “Australia” and “Syria,” I have real people now; I have many more books on my reading list; I know that I like at least one kind of quinoa salad.
Did anyone look me in the face and tell me my life’s purpose? No. And yet they did. We talked of the call to be lights in the darkness, the need to be ready with answers for the hope that is in us, the fact that we’ll only have to give answers for that hope if that hope shows.
Probably, it would be easier to rush off immediately to be light somewhere new, carrying hope somewhere new. It’s harder to come back to the same place, where my eyes are accustomed to the lighting so that the dark places are less obvious. It’s harder, maybe, to let your hope show when you stay at home. But the hope is the same here as everywhere, just as real, just as bright.
One of the things that was driven home to me during the week was that the call is not for us to be people of great faith, but people of a great God. Because our hope lies not in the size of our faith, but in the object of that faith. That object is the God of hope, the true light that enlightens everyone, Who came into the world and, made flesh, knew all the hurts of humanity, even while He had the certain hope and expectation of coming joy.
I have the same certain hope and expectation, because I have His promise. And, though there were no visions, no prophecies, no new directions, I know that, whatever I am doing, my purpose is to do it in hope.
So here I am, hoping. (Help, Lord, my un-hope.)