Monday, March 4 2024 - 6:59 PM

Sharing Scripture — July 8, 2023

God’s Grand, Christ-Centered Plan


For use: July 2 – 8, 2023
Texts: Ephesians 1:3-14; 2:6; 3:10; Colossians 1:13, 14; Deuteronomy 9:29


“I’m so sorry to read this morning about a submersible going missing, and I just wanted to check in briefly and confirm that you’re okay.”

In horror, travel author Sharael Kolberg quickly processed the emailed inquiry from her colleague. She now shares, “As my eyes scanned the text, my hands covered my mouth as I gasped, ‘Oh my god, oh my god! … The sub is missing!’”

Weeks earlier, Kolberg booked a seat aboard the Titan submersible—which tragically imploded—planning to write about the experience for several journals. Unable to find enough sponsors to cover the cost of the trip, she gave up her spot to someone else.

A breast cancer survivor, she is now processing her own emotions regarding this event. “For me, it was both a feeling of relief and guilt,” she shares. “Why wasn’t it me? Now, I had cheated death twice. There must be a reason I’m here.

“This experience sent me into an existential crisis. Unlike surviving breast cancer, with the submersible situation, someone else perished in my place. Rather than being happy that I was alive, I couldn’t help but feel sad for those that didn’t make it.

“I have yet to discover why I was spared, but what I do know is that the crew members were role models as to how to live life to the fullest—do what you love, with curiosity and with passion, and without fear or regret. May we all live life in this way, in their honor.”

We are each one here for a reason. Some of us may have a good understanding of God’s leading in our lives; others of us may still wonder. As believers, we understand that God has a divine plan for our lives, though we may feel at times like small cogs in the grand design of the universe.

The Apostle Paul acknowledges that divine plan in Ephesians 1:9-10. God’s will for us is revealed in the life and ministry of Jesus, and our purpose is to be a part of God’s work of reconciling all of creation in Christ. God’s grand plan is both centered in Christ and empowered by Christ.

If we understand why we are where we are and why we’re doing what we do, we can more easily acknowledge our place in God’s grand plan. If we, however, don’t quite grasp our purpose in life yet (like Sharael Kolberg), we can simply accept that we are a part of God’s design and assume that someday God will reveal that plan to us.

In the meantime, God’s grand plan—whether we understand it or not—is a good reminder for us to live each day with love, curiosity, passion and without fear or regret.


For Reflection


Connecting: Have you ever “cheated death”? Share any details that you can and feel comfortable sharing with your group.

Sharing: When considering God’s will for our lives, what statement do you most often hear from others?

  1. We’re all just products of random chance, not any master design
  2. Everything that happens to us (good and bad) is God’s will
  3. I’m still here, so God isn’t finished perfecting my character yet
  4. I’ll be here as long as God can use me, until my usefulness is done
  5. I don’t know God’s will for me, but I’ll just do my best every day
  6. Other:

Applying: When someone dies, people often say “God needs them in heaven more than we need them here.” What is your response to that statement?

Valuing: Do you have a sense of your purpose here on earth—God’s grand plan for your life? Can you articulate it? Share what you can with someone else. Does verbalizing it help solidify it in your own heart?


~ Chuck Burkeen


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