I don’t want to die?
Three years ago, I wrote about feeling like I didn’t want to die but also wishing that I hadn’t been born.
Conflicting feelings: I don’t want to die, but I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all
Random musings about life on a Sunday morning
When I wrote what you’re about to read, I hadn’t re-read the essay linked above yet. I reread it just before publishing this one. Re-reading it, I realised the question was about purpose.
That great and big and scary word.
everyone … created for My glory, whom I have indeed formed and made.” — Isaiah 43:7
What’s my purpose? Why am I here? Questions I have asked myself and I have been asked as well. And that is what I was asking all those years ago (it really seems like a lifetime ago).
When I wrote that essay, I already had a relationship with God — maybe saying I had a relationship with Him was a stretch, but I knew Him to an extent. But between then and the end of 2020, something changed. Between September and November 2020, I saw God afresh. I encountered Him in a different way from the ideas I had built in my head about who He was and what He expected of me. I literally became a new person.
I’m currently doing a study on the book of Psalms and the other day I read Psalm 118 again for maybe the 1 millionth time. But something about verse 17, a prayer that I pray almost every day had a new meaning for me:
I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. (NIV)
In that last essay, I wrote
I wake up some mornings and feel like oh I woke up. And I ask myself what is the point of life.
And Psalm 118:17 has the answer: to proclaim what the Lord has done. Some versions say “to declare the glory of the Lord”. Our purpose is to reflect His image to the world. (Genesis 1:26–27, Isaiah 43:7)
Once I even thought I was happy with my life. And I could die because it was fine. It felt like a peak and I didn’t know what to make of life. But I have come to realise my purpose. It is to love God, live in obedience and oneness with Him, love others, and let everything I do glorify Him. There is no higher calling or greater honour than to worship Him. Not just with my words but in my every day living.
To love my partner, my siblings, my parents, my friends, the stranger on the road, and the annoying person on Twitter in a way that honours Him. To excel at whatever work I put my hand to do, in a way that glorifies Him. To live in truth and godliness in a way that identifies me with Him.
That is my purpose. That is success. That is winning.
In this place where my life doesn’t seem perfect and it seems like it has upended. I’m living hundreds of kilometres away from my husband (same guy from that post), my finances aren’t adding up (I actually cried a lot this past weekend because I couldn’t pay for something I wanted but 3 years ago when I wrote that essay, I could easily afford it. Even last year, I could easily afford it), I’m away from 99% of my strong and supportive network of family and friends. And these are the lighter things.
But in all this, I can say that I do want to continue living and I’m glad that I was born. Not because things will get better but because I have discovered the reason for my life: To know God, to be known by Him, and to make Him known. To love Him and be loved by Him. To serve Him.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. Without speech or language, without a sound to be heard, their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun. — Psalms 19:1-4, BSB
If all of God’s creation proclaim His glory and display His craftsmanship, why won’t I? My life is to show the works of His hand. I too am His creation, I have speech and language, and I’ll proclaim His glory.
The title of this essay is a question? I don’t want to die? It’s because death doesn’t feel like such a bad thing. Not for the reasons from the first essay but because “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21, BSB)”.