If God were to use your life as a platform, what would He be saying to the world?
A platform is a raised level surface that allows others to see someone or something better. Most of us live typical lives, moving about in our daily routine like the millions around us. We are the audience. Oh, now and then we post something on social media to highlight our lives; heads turn as we show our pictures and garner comments.
But there are also times when your circumstances lift you up above the crowd, whether you like it or not, and your life becomes a platform to proclaim more intensely God’s faithfulness and power. Usually it is not of your own choosing. He chooses for you. He wants to display His glory through your achievement, your promotion, your trending product, or your job loss, your cancer, your auto accident.
Of course, if your respond in a self-oriented, smugly self-glorifying way to your achievements and successes, that’s not very noteworthy and your platform grinds to a halt at a low level. If you respond to your suffering with fear, anger, panic or falling apart, that is certainly natural and therefore not very noteworthy, and likewise your platform grinds to a halt just above the crowd.
So, here is a check-up phrase to ask yourself repeatedly throughout your days:
I am created for His glory – how am I doing right now?
(Isaiah 43:7, 2 Corinthians 5:9)
The Battleground of Memories
Let me back up for a second. Have you ever noticed how fleeting the present is? Some say it doesn’t even exist. It changes extremely quickly from future to past. Just like that! When things happen in your life, the actual occurrence is often very fast. But the remembering and processing of that happening can be long, repeated, and detailed, dotted with conjecture about other ways it may have all turned out. When we counsel trauma victims, healing is often found in helping them change the way they process their memories.
When you choose to pour the oil of gratitude into the gears of your huge achievements or your terrible struggles, your platform doesn’t grind to a halt but keeps rising. Heads turn as they hear you throw the praise to God and others for your achievements, or highlight the virtues and lessons your are learning through your struggles.
Sunday, I had a conversation with a lady whose mother is going through some medical difficulties connected with aging. I was pleasantly surprised when my friend proceeded to share how God was blessing them even in the middle of their hardships. She shared specific things that she was thankful for even when you could look at the same circumstances with great frustration. That was awesome! She chose to process her challenges with th(i)nkfulness, and therefore she had my undivided attention.
A few years ago Dr. John Piper, a leading pastor in the States, was diagnosed with cancer. He published an interesting article on how to handle your cancer. He encouraged the reader to draw near to God and use this new platform to share with more people about the truths found in Christ. Joni Eareckson Tada, Ron Hamilton, and Bethany Hamilton would all say the same.
The Power of a Speaker
Have you ever been riveted by a speaker? I have. You forget your circumstances and focus intently on what the speaker is saying.
There may be something that this person has studied or experienced that qualifies them to deserve that kind of attention. Maybe they are an expert on their topic. Maybe they speak with compelling enthusiasm. Maybe they are super funny. Something is holding you captive to what they are saying.
Jesus Speaking To and Through
Jesus, through His Spirit, is constantly speaking to you (Romans 8:16, 1 John 2:27). Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus, our High Priest, was one who went through temptations and difficulties as we do, yet without sin. Because of that, we can listen to His counsel and receive mercy and grace (help) in our need.
But Jesus also wants to speak through you. Lack of gratitude is common; it leaves you at the audience level and gives you no platform from which to speak. Similarly, drawing attention to yourself, your courage, and your virtues in your triumphs and trials also falls flat with most people.
But if you listen to what Jesus has been telling you about your successes and your suffering – that they are all measured and guided by His meticulous Providence, and given to you as a platform so that He can speak to people through you – then you will realize the importance of being th(i)nkful. When you properly process your circumstances by thanking God, you will rise above the crowd and be given a microphone for His glory (uncomfortable as that might be).
So, take a piece of paper and begin to record things that you can think thanks about in your present situation. Let the Lord adjust your eyes to begin to notice these things more and more. Express your gratitude. Your platform is being developed. Don’t push to share, but willingly obey if the Lord asks this of you. He uses us as humans to testify and witness of His work in our lives.
Give thanks in everything