11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.—Ephesians 3:11-13, ESVAll of the perceived “bad” things, like imprisonment, that happened to Paul and other believers in Christ happened as part of God’s plan of eternal purpose that was revealed through Jesus Christ. Paul’s life, and ours as followers of Christ are no accident. They are part of God’s grand, mysterious plan that has been revealed through Christ. This plan included giving everyone, no matter who they were born as or where they were born, the ability to know God, to be redeemed by Him, and to belong to His heavenly kingdom and family. This plan includes giving us a specific purpose in this life. Paul knew that his purpose was to reveal the gospel to the Gentiles. God has decided that He wants to use each one of us in a specific way to carry out His plan. These are some of the reasons why we do not need to lose heart (v. 13). Our lives are not a waste!
I’ve found that many do not know how God wants to specifically use them to affect this world. They try to serve God in some ways and for whatever reason, this does not seem to work out for them. They get discouraged. This is a hard place to be.
When we find ourselves in this situation, I think that we often have to persevere in doing the general things that we know God wants us to do like praying, reading, studying, and obeying the Bible, loving Him and others, serving in our local church however we are able, and sharing our faith. Often as we mature and understand God, others, and ourselves better, as we understand more of the needs of the world around us more clearly, God will help to refine our desires and give us the opportunity to live them out (see Psalm 37:4). Is there some simple way that you can start living out God's plan for your life today?