LIFE WANTS TO LIVE! First Spark is a sculture by Ronald Whitwam displayed in the 2011 Grand Rapids Art Prize, and the 2012 Grand Haven Art Walk.
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Yes Agnes, there is a Plan.

What advice do you give a young lady at Faith Children's Village orphanage in Zambia, Africa, when she asks about choices she must make as she graduates out into the general community? Agnes entered the orphanage at age 13 and we took on her full support for five years. Monthly cards and short letters back and forth built a bridge of trust and she now wanted some "fatherly advice." We all have anxiety about the uncertainty of change, but there must be an extra measure when a young child experiences mistreatment and rejection and now the security she enjoyed for five good years was coming to an end. The fact that Agnes made a big choice to accept God's great salvation and had grown spiritually, allowed meaningful advice that applies to any Christian facing a new challenge in life. Agnes' new security can rest in the fact that a loving God is in control of a plan for her and she can choose to follow it.

Dear Agnes,

There is a Plan for you to follow.

Thank you for your last letter. I am pleased that you were able to travel to visit your relatives. Was it all like you remembered it to be? I remember when I was away from my childhood home for some time and then went back. Things seemed very different. It was not so much that the people back there had changed, but that I had changed. God had given me a new life, a Christian family (His family) and good Christian friends. He had set me in a new direction in his plan for me. I did not know where his plan would take me, but I knew that being in his will was the only place I wanted to be. Now I am older and someone could ask me: Did you fulfill your purpose in life? Did you follow God's plan? Did you make the right choices? Did you end up where you were meant to be?

Our purpose in life.
First and most important, yes I fulfilled my main purpose in life, as I see that you have also. We have both submitted to God's great salvation by his grace through our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. We have become children of God, and this is his great purpose for us. This is the position he created us for. This is the reason Jesus was born as a man, died for our sins and arose from the dead to offer us salvation. At the moment of our choice to accept Jesus as Lord and savior, an unchangeable thing happened to us. God's Holy Spirit entered us and we became "born again" into God's family. No other choices or decisions in our lifetime will be so important. However there are other important choices for meeting our mission in life.

Our mission in life.
As Christians, our mission in life involves all of our activities toward meeting God's plan for us. The first part of God's plan is already met. We belong to him. The second most important part of his plan is that we are submitted to his will for us, so he can move us into the services he has for us to do. These services include spreading the good news about his salvation, serving our fellow believers in the Church, raising our children to know and love him, using our skills and education for working at certain jobs, and many smaller tasks such as handing a hungry person a piece of food and giving a kind word in the name of Jesus.

Life is a struggle.
Not to fool ourselves, let's admit that this submission to his will is a real struggle for all of us. This is something we need to work on all of the time. Whereas our salvation is once and forever unchangeable, submission to his will is a daily struggle. A teacher once said that we need to be in continuous submission because our old sinful nature keeps us thinking about our own selfish desires instead of doing God's will. Some day we will leave our old sinful nature behind when we go to live with the Lord in His Kingdom. Until then it is like an old garment that we need to keep as clean as possible.

The choices we make.
Every day we make many choices and as we grow up the choices seem to get bigger too. Will I wear my hair up, down or no hair at all? Which friends shall I spend time with? What shall I allow my mind to think about? How much will I study my lessons? How hard will I work on my tasks? How much will I pray and study God's word? Will I do something bad when I think no one is looking? Then there are choices that seem out of our control. Will I get to advance in education? Can I live where I would like to or where I have to? Will things go my way or some other way? WOW, life's choices are tough, especially when we can't seem to control them!

How do we make these choices?
Worldly minded people make their choices trying to get things and be better than others. They often will be dishonest and do evil things to get their own way. (See Luke, 12:15, "And He said unto them, watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.) But, wise Christians will always seek the will of God in their lives and follow his teachings in making their choices. Their thoughts will be on his teachings in Matthew Chapter 5, 6 & 7 and many other places in his word. We know right from wrong and good choices never follow wrong ways. (Read all of Luke chapter 12, see vs. 31. "But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.")

Where shall I serve him?
In many cases there may be two or more choices where we think we could serve God's will, but we don't know which one to follow. There are also times when we may make the wrong choice or things may not go as we thought they should go. In these cases it is best to simply serve him right where we are, until he makes it clearer for us to know his will. We can continue to do the things we should do no matter where we are. Things like praise him, study, prepare, serve others, seek advice from Godly people and pray that God leads us to where he wants us to be next. There is never a time when we have no second chance to move from where we are to where God wants us to be. No matter how wrong things may seem to get, we are still his children, and we can always turn to him and go his way.

After many years where am I in his plan?
Did I follow God's plan? Yes, much of the time. But it's not always an easy path to follow and doesn't always go where I think it will go. Did I make the right choices? Not always. But when I didn't, I could turn back to God's will and get back on the right path. Did I end up where I am meant to be? Not yet, because the plan continues through our whole lifetime and goes into eternity, into God's Kingdom. So you see, sometimes I still have the same "what's next" questions that you have. But I know that it is God saying to me, "Ask me what's next and don't worry about it yourself, because you are not alone, I am always with you."

My fatherly advice to you.
Well Agnes, this is a long letter. But you asked some very deep questions this time and you seem to have some big things on your mind about the future. If I were there with you I would give you a big fatherly hug and pray with you about God's plans for you. I would tell you that everyone has these same questions and feels anxious about the answers. This is God's way of getting us to listen to him and rely on him for his answers.

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