Living large

I peered through the glass then adjusted my position until I could see clearly.  They were hard to find, being so small in such a large tank, but I knew what I was looking for.  The smallest one was flecked with a tinge of green on its underside.  The other two were just showing signs of their mature color, and I was excited to see the orange and yellow of their bellies.  Our toads joined the family nearly a month ago, and we've been checking on them daily to ensure they had plenty of water and food.

They originated from the tropics where they are indigenous to the rain forests.  I feel a twinge of guilt that they are confined to the space of an aquarium.  Do they know what they are missing out on?  No doubt they are loved and cared for.  They do not have to worry about finding food or water.  They do not have to worry about being hunted down or accidentally squashed.  But are the guaranteed basics of safety and comfort a fair trade for the exotic environment they were created for?  They will never feel the filtered sun through the dripping flora.  They will never hear the calling caws of the winged creatures from above nor the rushing roar of a waterfall.  They will never taste the satisfaction of a hard fought meal.  Their lives are so small here.

I look at the four corners of my world, and think about the beauty of living large.  It's roots have grown deep into my soil and sprout out this longing to have purpose.  Shooting up to the sky are my heart and my questions, "Why am I here?  How can I spend this one beautiful life?"

So many miss this answer.  They live their average span of years never having satisfied the uneasiness that stirs the inside of all of us.  Year after year they try to quench the pangs of what they don't understand by filling themselves with things.  They get lost on the journey to fill the void, and find that everything they have worked for still leaves them empty.  We shake our heads in our depressed state, and wonder why we can never be at peace with ourselves.

A few days ago, I checked on the fire-bellied toads and noticed that the small green one wasn't moving.  He was dark and stiff, and I knew that he had come to the end of himself.  He lived and died without the knowledge of the gigantic world he would never see.

I've learned a truth about life and purpose.  God has given us one life and he has a specific purpose for every single one of us.  We are not accidental placements.  We may have been a surprise to our parents, but not to God.  We may feel like a misfit, unwanted, unloved and burdened by the difficulties of life, but God has placed us perfectly in our situations, not to make us happy, but to use us for his purpose.  If we could see his plan, we would stop asking, "Why me?"  When we stop looking to feed our basic needs, when we stop trying to find the easiest way to live, when we stop trying to make ourselves happy, we will find that suddenly the walls fall away and we will have a much better view of the reason we are here.  It is breathtaking joy.  We must leave the safety of the aquarium, if we are to be given the beauty of the rainforest.

I don't want to live confined in my own little world with its four walls and limited space.  I want to give God a dangerous yes to living in the world that he created me for.  I don't want to hold onto the comfort of my own self-serving happiness when there is so much more for me to experience.  The decision of this sacrifice is a matter of life and death.

May I die to myself that I might live the life of purpose that God has called me to.


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