Why did God keep you alive today? If you’re reading this, then I’ll just assume you’re alive. And if you’re alive, the Bible says it’s because God is keeping you alive (Heb 1:3). But why?
As I’ve pondered this question, I’ve realized that it’s actually quite difficult to answer. Think about it. God doesn’t need you. And if he let you die right now, life would go on. And God would still be loving, wise, just, and holy. So why are you still alive?
I don’t claim to know all the reasons you’re still breathing. But let me offer just one.
You are alive today because God wants the world to hear about Jesus.
SPARED FROM THE MOUTH OF LIONS
In a week I’ll be traveling to India. Part of my trip includes teaching some Indian pastors through the letter of 2 Timothy. In my preparation I was struck by this verse.
17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth (2 Tim 4:17).
Here the apostle Paul, writing from a Roman prison, reflects on his recent court trial. His life was in real danger. If found guilty he would have been executed, likely to be torn up by lions in the Roman arena. So real was his danger that not even one of his friends showed up for the trial for fear that they would be condemned by association (4:16).
But Paul wasn’t condemned in his first trial. He wasn’t thrown to the lions. And the question is Why? Why did God keep Paul alive?
As Paul reflected on this question, here’s the answer he gave: so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it (17).
In other words, God kept Paul alive because he wanted the world to hear about Jesus.
THE CENTER OF PAUL’S LIFE
I find it fascinating that Paul interpreted his survival, not through the grid of God’s love for him, nor through the grid of God’s desire for his personal happiness. Though these may be true, Paul doesn’t attribute his survival to these factors.
Instead, Paul interpreted his survival through the grid of God’s mission. Paul survived because God has a mission. And that mission involves all the nations hearing about Jesus the Messiah.
This mission defined Paul’s life. Literally. He was willing to die for this mission (Acts 21:13). And if he happened to live another day, in Paul’s mind, it was to advance this mission.
Though we are not apostles like Paul, we do share in the same basic mission: to tell the world about Jesus (Matt 28:18-20). So whether you’re a parent, a student, a plumber, a pastor, a grandpa, a brick-layer, or a missionary, God kept you alive today because he wants the world to hear about Jesus.
Question: What kinds of things make it hard for you to live life from this perspective?