For some children, this question may hurt too much to ask. The answers don’t always fill us with a sense of belonging. Words like “mistake,” “accident” and “unplanned” hang over some lives. “You weren’t in the cards.” “We didn’t expect you.” “I didn’t ask for you. And now you are here.”
A young, first-grade teacher, hoping to illustrate something, once asked her students this question. The answers came quickly: “To take out the trash.” “To help with chores.” “My parents say tax credit and laugh whenever I ask them.”
Finally one child replied, “Because they loved me.”
Sadly, parents overcook chores or tax credits in their minds. Others simply fail to communicate the unsophisticated truth: “I wanted you. That’s why you are here.”
Children, whether young or in mid-life, wake each morning without knowing that their life happened on purpose. They don’t realize fully that someone willed them into being.
A young couple recently mentioned their desire to have a child. They have a lovely marriage, many friends, and a great life for twenty-somethings. Yet they feel something is missing, something only another member of the family can provide. The love between them is not inadequate; the love stimulates the desire to procreate.
The conviction of feeling wanted dramatically alters the way one sees life. The questions we wake up with differ. No longer do we ask, “Why am I here?” Rather, we ask, “How do I live my life, and what do I do with it?” A deep understanding of another’s love effects such change.
A few minutes’ conversation with small children demonstrates this. Notice the ones who believe they’re loved and wanted by their parents, and then look at those who aren’t certain. The buoyancy and liveliness of the former forecast their lives.
Frederick Buechner mentions a sermon he once read. God awoke one day, looked around, and said, “I’m lonely, I think I’ll make me a world.” God then made man to be with him. Just as Adam’s world felt incomplete without Eve, so God felt his world incomplete without us. Not just the collective us, but every individual. Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15 speaks of each person’s inestimable worth: the shepherd would leave ninety-nine to search out the one.
Still, having heard this, we still reach to believe that we matter. Though we hear it from parents, friends or spouses -- though Jesus would tell us -- we doubt. Thus, the work of God is and ever will be to believe. We must live like we believe we are wanted, knowing the world’s incomplete without each of us.
New questions wait. “How do I live my life and what do I do with it?”
Am I here on purpose or for a purpose?
Do I believe someone, God or my parents, wanted me to be here?
If I was created to be God's friend, how does that affect my daily life? What will I change about my thinking, attitudes, self-image, or priorities?
© Revolworks 2006