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Summary: God uses our trials to transform us

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Introduction:

Gordon MacDonald, who is a well-known Christian speaker and writer tells this story from his days running track:

When I first ran track in prep school, my coach invited me to his home for dinner one night. After the meal, he pulled out a notebook with my name on the front cover. He turned to the back page, which bore the heading "June 1957"—three and a half years away.

"Gordon," he said. "These are the races I’m going to schedule you to run almost four years from now. Here are the times you will achieve."

McDonald says, “I looked at those times & thought: ‘Impossible!’ They were light years away from where I was at that moment as a runner.”

But then his Coach began turning back the pages of that book, page by page, showing the 42 months he had scheduled for workouts. These were the graduated, accelerated plans for my increasing skill on the track as the months and years would go by. He had a sense of direction and development when it came to my athletic growth. (Gordon McDonald, Promise Keepers "Go the Distance" conference, 8-11-00, from PreachingToday.com)

Did you know that God has a goal for you?

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase taken from a popular evangelistic tract, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”

But have you ever thought about what that plan may be?

I know whenever I thought and prayed about what that plan was, I was always trying to figure out what God wanted for me in terms of my vocation, or where I lived or my relationships

And when we pray for God to reveal His plan to us, that’s probably what most of us pray for:

“Lord, what college should I go to?”

“What should be my major?”

“Lord, should I marry this person?”

“Lord, did you REALLY want me to marry that person???”

Should I buy this house?

“Should I take this job?”

I spent years struggling with what I was supposed to do with my life.

I wanted so much to know what that “wonderful plan” was for my life.

I stumbled around in some jobs I really didn’t like a whole lot.

I prayed a lot – begging God to guide me.

It was during one of those times that someone I greatly respected, a man who was the leader of a ministry I volunteered for said something that just threw me off my feet.

We had been talking about God’s plan for us and guidance and that kind of thing.

And George summed up his knowledge on the subject by saying, in his Scottish brogue, “I don’t think God gives a rip what we do.”

It was as if someone punched me in the stomach.

“What do you mean, ‘God doesn’t give a rip what we do?’

“Here I am agonizing over what to do with my life and you’re telling me God doesn’t give a rip?”

Well, of course God DOES “give a rip” what we do with our lives – even George admitted that!

But his POINT was this:

God is less concerned with what we DO than with what we BECOME

God has a goal for us that is bigger than just “being saved.”

Like Gordon McDonald’s track coach, God has a plan for us

And that plan has less to do with what school we go to or what job we take or even who we marry.

God has a goal for us to be transformed from broken, sinful, hurting people, to healed, mature, whole people.


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