Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of my life were all prepared before I’d even lived one day. – Psalm 139:16, The Message Bible
This past August, I was invited to speak to the student body of a popular Palm Beach County high school.
The topic of my presentation was the 1963 March on Washington, which I attended while I was yet a high school student. I was approached by several students following my presentation and they were each positively impacted by what I shared. One young man, black, articulate and anxious to have a private moment with me, was gravely concerned about his future. It was apparent to him that, because he was poverty-stricken and considered, at least in his mind, culturally inferior, he was doomed and headed for failure. We exchanged phone numbers and, later that week, I spoke to him and his family. They posed what seems to be life’s ultimate question: “What on earth are we here for?”
In his book, In Pursuit of Purpose, Dr. Myles Munroe says, “The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but life without reason. It is dangerous to be alive and not know why you are given life.”
Fortunately, the answers to life’s challenges of reason and purpose are given to us in God’s Word. One of those answers is in Psalm 139, where the writer David found his reason, and purpose, in God, who was a confidant who knew him completely, a companion who never left him and a creator who custom-made him – on purpose. It is comforting to know that God has not only created each of us with purpose but has also equipped us with everything we need to fulfill our purpose.
Every living creature is made up of cells so small that the letter “O” in this article would contain approximately 30,000 of them. Each microscopic cell is a world in itself, containing an estimated 200 trillion tiny molecules of atoms. Each cell is a micro-universe of unbelievable complexity. And all these cells put together make up a living creature. Every minute of every day, some three billion cells in the body die and the same number are created to take their place. And none of this happens by chance. It all happens because of the mind and hand of God.
The texture of the human body is the most complicated and curious that can be conceived. It is, indeed, wonderfully made and it is so exquisitely nice and delicate that the slightest accident may impair or destroy in a moment some of those parts essential to the continuance of life; therefore, we are fearfully made. And God has done so to show us our frailty, that we should walk with death, keeping life in view, and feel the necessity of depending on the all-wise and continual superintending care and providence of God.
So I told that young man in Palm Beach County, “You are not better but definitely not inferior.” I told him, and I encouraged his parents, with words like, “You are black, bold, beautiful, bad to the bone, undeniably, unapologetically, unquestionably and unashamedly.”
And, each of us, we are individually as wise and as gifted as anyone else. We are not inferior because of our sex, our color, our complexion, our condition, our culture or our community. We are only inferior if we do not carefully consider our purpose and fully commit ourselves to it. We are beautifully and wonderfully made. Thank God for who we are!
Pray this prayer: No matter the plots, plays and plagues of the enemy, O God, your plans for me will always supersede, surpass and supplant those of the devil. My feet are planted, my thoughts are pleasant and I pray that my ways are pleasing to you. Lord, this day, and every day, I will not be defeated, because you planned my life before I was born. So I know that whatever happens is intended to drive me toward my purpose. Thank you for your plans for my life. Amen
Walter T. Richardson is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade County and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at wtrichardson@Bellsouth.net. Website: WTRMinistries.com