That was the final question as we neared the end of Coffee and Conversations, a new adult discussion group at Gerrardstown Presbyterian Church. We are reading What Matters Most: How We Got the Point But Missed the Person by Leonard Sweet. With 10 minutes before the end of our allotted time, it was a lot of question with precious little time to think it through.
‘Why did God create me?’ kept rolling around in my head, demanding an answer. The question is not how did God create me or for what did God create me, although I think they figure in to the answer somehow.
I began to think about creation – whether it was in 7 days or 7 billion years matters not to me. I believe God brought a world into being and people were the closest in all creation to God’s character and personality, made in God’s image. But what was created good and fully functioning is now corrupted by the evolution of poor choices. In my understanding, God gave people the ability to choose God or not choose God because God knew making choices is one aspect that what makes us like God. And the imprint of God’s image remains in spite of our choices away from a relationship with God.
But our birth – or individual creation process – and our DNA are now damaged. Babies aren’t all born in good health – some experience huge obstacles, disease processes, and some barely make it or not at all. In the days after Amelia, our third daughter, was born 6 weeks early, I sat in the little hospital nursery watching her sleep and holding her when I could. One day a baby boy was brought in, also born way too early. The doctors and nurses worked so hard to try and save his life but his life here was short and painful. Why did God create him?
As I ponder the question I realize that our existence is tenuous at best. So many factors go into our even being born – due to circumstances often out of control of the parents. Life here is difficult. But I don’t believe God wants us to be born with challenges or difficult-to-name diseases. Nor do I believe God ever desires that young babies or children not reach adulthood nor adults to find they are now riddled with disease. Why then are we here? For what did God create us? For difficulty? For sadness? For struggling?
No. I believe God created us for life with God. God created us for the beauty of living joyfully, healthfully and peacefully in harmony with God and others, as good stewards of God’s creation. That was Plan A. I was created to love and enjoy God forever, for indeed God has loved and enjoyed me long before I knew who God was (my apologies to the writers of the Westminster Confession). I believe the glory we give God grows out of receiving and recognizing God’s great love for us that invites us to love in return, for we glorify who and what we know and love.
When I remember that God is for me and not against me, that the pain in life is not God’s plan but that God wrestles with me to bring goodness and mercy, love and joy, faithfulness, wholeness and healing here on earth in and through my acceptance of his invitation to walk faithfully with Jesus, God’s Son, I am overwhelmed with God’s particular love for each of us and interest in all of us- for we were created in God’s image.
Were we then created for relationship? Yes, all through the stories in the Bible I see God longing for not just obedience but honest relationship with God’s people. The Ten Commandments are all about the keeping of relationship with God and others. Hence Plan B came as person showing us how relationship with God is lived out –inviting us to be a part of that relationship and to bring others who are looking for the promise of life. Jesus certainly showed us that all are welcome in relationship with him. Maybe together we can learn about and get to know in person the One who loves us more than we love us and seeks to be in relationship with us.
Why did God create you and me? I believe God has dreams and hopes for each of us. God sent Jesus to shows us that possibilities abound in the Kingdom of God that Jesus brought to earth for us to walk in and experience with him. Our relationship with him offers us life, love, forgiveness, healing, hope and the opportunity to be re-created through our living in relationship with God. It isn’t always easy nor do I often know all or any of the answers but I do believe the One who holds the answers holds me and wants to hold you in deep and abiding love and grace as we grow in our understanding of why God created each of us.