Last week as part of our rehab exercises, my mother was supposed to stand upright while holding on to her walker, lift her foot and place it on a phone book. This was an exercise that was supposed to strengthen her leg and help her bend her knee more. Unfortunately, she kept lifting her hip with her leg straight in her attempt to put her foot on the book, and I had to keep reminding her to bend her knee. “The point of this exercise isn’t so you can just put your foot on a book, it’s to practice bending your knee,” I told her.
As I did, it occurred to me how often God does that same sort of thing in our lives. He brings in problems that, taking the superficial view, have an obvious external, temporal purpose and goal: straighten out the medication mix up, nurse the person back to health, complete the book, get the school project done, get the car fixed after it’s broken down… But just like with my mother’s phone book exercise, none of those are the real goal.
The real goal is eternal — God conforming us to the image of His son, bringing us to a point where we can share in his sufferings and experience a bit of His resurrection life in time. And the problems and screwball events in our lives are often just exercises that bring us along toward that eternal goal. As Pastor Joe said in Bible class tonight, God is in the details of our lives. If He numbers the very hairs on our heads, He knows all about the other small things of our lives, and uses them to accomplish His purposes for us.