What Is Your Purpose?
Falling Into The Pattern
How’s your day going? Is it one of those “normal” days in which you get up, maybe exercise or check the news, shower, grab some breakfast, go to work, come home, catch up with the family and then crash in front of the TV? It’s funny how our lives fall into a pattern, a routine we follow day after day. But there comes a time in life when our routine will start to haunt us. The enthusiasm and passion of youth is often tempered by life experiences as we approach middle age. We have obligations and responsibilities at home, bills that must be paid on time and if there aren’t many major bumps along the way, many of us will come to realize life isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not everything we’d dreamed it would be. Questions will arise in which we ask ourselves, “Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life? Is this all there is?”
An event was held in downtown Denver during June 2018 at which aspiring novelists and fiction writers got to question published authors as part of a panel discussion. One panel featured authors of horror novels and the subject turned to a discussion about what makes people afraid. A successful author in the genre was asked what he thought was the most terrifying thing a person could face. The questioner had anticipated an answer along the lines of a grisly death, being alone, a disabling or disfiguring accident, or something consistent with the horror genre. The author paused for a moment to reflect before answering, “A purposeless, unfulfilled life.”
I had a great life and thought I was doing fine. I had a beautiful wife, great kids and a job that gave us more than just what we needed. To anyone looking in from the outside, I was an example of success. Then I met the bear.
I was hunting moose in a remote part of Canada’s Northwest Territories four years ago. The full story is elsewhere on this website, but the bottom line is I got badly mauled by an 800-lb. grizzly bear miles from help and hope. That attack was followed by a series of events in rapid succession that even a skeptic would call nothing short of miraculous. As I entered a state of shock while my guide and rescuers fought to keep me alive, a terrifying thought came into my head. “If I die here, then what?”
Lying on the floor of a rescue helicopter racing between the mountain ranges to the nearest outpost for help, it occurred to me that the balance sheet of my life wasn’t exactly what it should have been. I’d done things I wasn’t proud of. There were bad things I’d done and said, people I’d wronged. A paralyzing fear came over me. Would I end up in heaven or hell?
Death is something we tend not to think about when things are going well in life. Somewhere in my mind I’d understood that we’d all die someday, but I was in the prime of my life doing things I’d dreamed of doing and thought death was in the distant future. Oh I understood that a fly-in wilderness hunting adventure had an element of danger to it. That’s part of what makes such trips a thrill to go on. But danger in my mind took the form of falling and breaking an arm or leg, hypothermia or being trapped by adverse weather, or maybe having the plane crash-land far from civilization. Those are the kinds of things hunters tend to prepare for with extra clothes or rations and a good first aid kit. Even though I’d known bears would be in the area we hunted, the idea of one actually getting hold of me, chewing me, clawing me, dragging me and dropping me on death’s doorstep had never entered my mind. But as the chill of the wind whipped through that chopper and I felt myself weakening, a horrifying new reality hit me. I might not make it to the outpost.
The Balance Scroll
We hear about near-death experiences often. Each story is different in many ways, but I can tell you there is truth to those that describe a mental accounting that takes place. It’s been described as having your life flash before you. I’m a businessman and for me, as I’ve already stated, the experience took the form of an accounting, a balance sheet. Memories came to mind of events in my life, both good and bad. As I lay there shaking, feeling blood running down my back, I remembered the good things. But for every one of those came the sickening recollection of bad things. As my mind mentally compared the columns of my scroll a glaring truth revealed itself. The life I’d be leaving wasn’t good enough to allow my entrance to heaven on my own. There was fear, despair, regret…and then a realization.
Years before I’d prayed and asked Jesus Christ to be my savior. Though I’d strayed from God in the years since that prayer, He had not strayed from me. A new realization came over me. God loved me. He was with me in that helicopter. He’d not let me die in the jaws of the bear but had moved heaven and earth to get help to the remote area I’d been in, and each turn of the rotor blades brought me closer to the outpost and life. God still had something He wanted me to do. My fear was replaced by a new sense of calm and peace. The presence of death was replaced by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Despair gave way to determination. I would live. And from that moment forward I vowed to live for God.
Created For Good Works
God is merciful. He gave me a second chance and a new purpose. I’ve taken the experience He gave me with the bear and use it to let people know how much God loves each one of us and how He has a divine plan and purpose for our lives. The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13-16 that God even knew us before we were born. And our purpose? In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we read in chapter two, verse 10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”*
The day that bear attacked started a new journey for me. It’s not a journey I may have chosen had I seen it coming at the time, but now I see how God used that bear, which had intended to end my life, to give me a new life and a new purpose. And while my pre-bear life was what many would consider successful and aspire to, this new walk with God is so amazing that all the happiness I thought I had before pales in comparison to the joy and purpose I have now.
Have you found God’s purpose for you? Is there a little voice inside telling you you’re not doing what God wants you to be doing? My hope is that you’ll listen to that still, small voice inside. The beauty of it all is the only thing we need to do to learn what God wants us to do is ask Him. Seek and you’ll find. Ask for wisdom and it will be given. Those are promises from God Himself, promises we can count on.
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*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.