The future is an unknown reality. There is just no way to accurately predict what will happen in the future, and therefore, there is no guarantee that our plans will work out the way that we hope they will. Life is too unpredictable to be certain that the life we are working so hard create is actually the best possible life we could live in the future.
This why it is essential that we rely on God’s wisdom and guidance as we move into the future. Remember the life God desires for us has nothing to do with income and possessions, but it has everything to do with purpose and significance.
We can give our lives away to chasing after the “American Dream,” but in the end we will look back on our lives with disappointment. Regret occurs in our lives, not because we didn’t buy the right things, but because we didn’t pursue the right purpose.
Here is the shocking truth that is essential for us to remember: The best life is found on the most difficult path. Jesus did not die to make our lives comfortable and secure, rather Jesus died to make us truly alive! There is a huge difference between existing in the “good life” and living the “full life.” Don’t merely opt for what seems most advisable and desirable to you, but pursue what God offers, even if it seems impossible in the moment.
Proverbs 14:12 reads; There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death (NLT). In life we all have a path that seems to be right and good, but which only leads to regret and death. With our limited knowledge we can spend a life time trying to “live life to the fullest,” and in the process waste that life we desired to cherish.
I think a good example of this is Ernest Hemingway. From the time of his boyhood in Oak Park, Illinois, to those teenage summers in northern Michigan, Ernest Hemingway went after everything that life offered. He became a reporter for the Kansas City Star, served as an ambulance driver in World War I, spent years in Europe, and was intimately involved in the Spanish Civil War. In whatever Hemingway did: sports, warfare, romance he gave it his best effort. And, of course he was brilliant. He was a man who did it all.
Carlos Baker wrote these words about Hemingway’s final moments:
Sunday morning dawned bright and cloudless. Ernest awoke early as always. He put on the red Emperor’s robe and padded softly down the carpeted stairway. The early sunlight lay in pools on the living room floor. He had noticed that the guns were locked up in the basement. But the keys, he well knew, were on the window ledge above the kitchen sink. He tiptoed down the basement stairs and unlocked the storage room. It smelled dank as a grave. He chose a double-barreled shotgun with a tight choke. He had used it for years of pigeon shooting. He took some shells from one of the boxes in the storage room, closed and locked the door, and climbed the basement stairs. If he saw the bright day outside, it did not deter him. He crossed the living room to the front foyer, a shrine like entryway, five feet by seven, with oak-paneled walls and floor of linoleum tile, He slipped in two shells, lowered the gun butt carefully to the floor, leaned forward, pressed the twin barrels against his forehead just above the eyebrows and tripped both triggers.
Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story
Hemingway is an extreme example, not only in the way he ended his life, but also in the gusto that he pursued the life of his dreams. For all his effort to live life, Hemingway seemed to have missed true life. His life ended with depression and illness that made him believe that life was no longer worth living.
When we live our lives by doing what we think is best we end up missing the life God created us to live. Instead of finding life, we discover death. True life is only found in listening to God and following Jesus Christ.
One of my favorite verses is Acts 20:24. In this passage Luke explains the decision the Apostle Paul made to go to Jerusalem, against the wishes of his friends. They know that what awaited Paul in Jerusalem was nothing but persecution and prison. Paul reminded the Ephesian Elders, who he called to give one last goodbye, that he had spent his life trying to accomplish the mission God has given him to do.
It is within this context that Paul said: “But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus‚the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love” (NLT).
The value Paul had for his life did not come for his ambitions and desires. Rather, the value of his life was found in God’s call on his life. It was this call to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, which gave Paul’s life meaning. This meaning fueled the hope Paul had to endure hardships, and gave him confidence to head into persecution and prison. Paul lived his “life to the fullest,” not by doing what he thought would bring him happiness, but doing the work God had called him to do.
You can try to find the “good life” by pursuing the dreams of your heart, or you can find the “full life” by following Jesus. Those are your two options, but know before hand that only one leads to true life. Jesus told us, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me (John 14:6; NLT). The way to life goes through Jesus.