Written By Charlotte Diana, Indonesia
“Do you have a spiritual goal in your life?” the guest speaker asked us during a youth ministry meeting one Saturday evening.
He then explained that if we were born just to grow up, study, get married, have children, become old, and finally die, this meant that we would be living only to meet death. For the rest of the evening, I reflected on his statement. At home, I continued to mull over my pastor’s words, but I did not know how to answer his question.
“How come I don’t have a spiritual goal in my life?” I asked myself. That question made me realize that God must have had a reason for creating me, but I’ve never asked Him for it before. Sitting alone in my room, I recalled the day I was baptized. My pastor had given me a card which quoted Romans 12:8: “If it is to encourage, then give encouragement . . .”
Someone told me that my pastor had prayed for me before giving me that card. At first, I ignored what was written; I was worried that I might not have the gift to encourage. In any case, I thought, the pastor could have been wrong about me.
A few days later, I started reading the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, hoping to eventually find my spiritual goal. It had a 40-day reading program which was not easy to complete, but I decided to persevere, as many people had said that the program helped them discover their spiritual goals. I wasn’t so sure, however, whether it would apply to me.
At the end of the 40 days, I still had not found my spiritual goal. But reading the book reminded me that God wanted me to spend more time with Him, to grow in wisdom and knowledge of Him and His righteousness. It also taught me to have faith in His plans. I knew that everything would be done in His time. In the meantime, I could only keep praying and trusting that God would allow me to ultimately know my goal in life.
As time went by, it seemed as though God was speaking to me by bringing to mind past memories, one of which was an experience from several years ago. Then, a couple of friends had written me letters sharing their problems. Some didn’t ask for advice; all they wanted was a listening ear. Some even called me on the phone and asked me to pray for them. This happened even with complete strangers. Once, while I was waiting for my brother at his school, a mother who was sitting beside me suddenly introduced herself and started to share about her past. Among other things, she told me that she had just gone through a divorce.
All this led me to question why such things kept happening to me. After all, I don’t really like to sit down and listen to people; I would rather read a novel than spend time talking to them .
One day, a friend called me to ask for help. Her youth ministry was planning to hold a camp and the organizing committee was short of one mentor for its care groups. After praying over several names, they had identified me, feeling that I was the answer to their prayers. My friend asked me if I was willing to become a mentor. At the time, I did not know how to answer them. Fortunately, they gave me a week to pray.
During that week, I re-read the notes I had made while reading The Purpose Driven Life. I prayed and asked God to give me a heart of wisdom, because I was afraid of making the wrong decision. What happened next was amazing. Each day, God showed me that many people needed encouragement in their spiritual growth, and led me to Bible verses that gave me courage. At the end of the week, I told my friend, “yes”. She was very happy, and told me about all the struggles they faced in choosing a name from their list.
Through my experience as a mentor in the camp, I was given the chance to listen to and encourage the members of my care group; I still do so today. I’ve learned to appreciate the people whom God had used to speak to me. I’ve also come to embrace the spiritual gift that God has given me—encouraging others.