The strongest believers I know have a glowing message written upon their souls… inscribed into them by the story of their lives. They’ve become the embodiment of a profound truth gently impacting everyone around them. I’m made richer, stronger, truer somehow… just by being in their presence.
I’ve noticed that each and every one of them has had to overcome something–some deficiency in themselves, a crushing disappointment or grievous injustice–but in overcoming the wound of that sorrow, they became the profound expression of a message that is their legacy, their crown, their privilege, and their honor into all of eternity.
That message is their legacy.
We think, wrongly, that we create a legacy by our successes in this life… for just as a flower’s place in the field is forgotten as soon as it fades, our successes will be forgotten as soon as we vacate the stage. Our eternal legacy is not the list of accomplishments we fought for in life, but the message that was written upon our soul in the fight, the profound undeniable truth… good or ill… that we will embody forever.
There are things God alone can do for us. And there are things He does not do for us, whose accomplishment He reserves for us. Those things are where He draws beside us to coach us forward… because only as we overcome the pain and adversity is His message forged in us. That message forged in our struggle is the prize, the beauty and testimony He chose for us before we were born — far more valuable than any list of earthly successes.
The message to be written into us is our destiny
I used to think our destiny was the work we were meant-to-do.
Doesn’t Scripture tell us that?
Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you: I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Yes, our purpose and destiny will be seen in the work we do… but it is the message– not the works–He is after. Our destiny is the message meant-to-be forged in us, as we overcome.
Moses led the children of Israel out of the land of bondage to The Promised Land. That was his life’s work, prepared beforehand so that he would walk in it. But as great as that work was, it was but an earthly illustration of the eternal message he epitomized, shining like a burning bush into all eternity. Go to The Scriptures and you will see how Moses became the embodiment of the message God entrusted to him, as he overcame the deficiencies in himself, the overwhelming odds of leading his people out of Egypt, the crushing burdens, and the unending frustration of ministering to a broken people who had suffered unspeakable injustice. What was that message?
…considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt … By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. Hebrews 11:26, 27
Consider Joseph, who rose to influence, power and fame in Pharaoh’s court, so that when the famine came, he was able to save his people. His rise to power and fame was not Joseph’s destiny, but the means to embody the message divinely entrusted to him:
… you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Genesis 50:20
That ancient message written into Joseph’s soul has strengthened innumerable believers soldiering through overwhelming injustice down through the centuries, assuring them of God’s sovereignty over every evil intended against us… that no matter how it appears, every move against us is actually one move closer to the victory, joy and glory meant to be seen in us.
But that message was written into Joseph’s soul, only as he languished in prison, the years of his youth melting away, the word of God being used to taunt him. He began to embody the message entrusted to him only as he did the hard spiritual work of overcoming his loss, his sorrow, and the grievous injustices done to him.
What has been entrusted to you to overcome?