Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Prepared for a Purpose?

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving is one of the handful of novels I've read twice (Huckleberry Finn is another.) A Prayer somehow manages to be funny (hilarious actually) and look at some issues of deep spiritual significance, including whether our lives are directed to a particular, God-given purpose.

I thought of this novel when I saw the title of Prepared for a Purpose, a book recounting the story of Antoinette Tuff. Antoinette was at the heart of  averting yet another school shooting in the United States through her courage and faith. She was the bookkeeper in the primary school and the gunman was actually a boy with ADD and bipolar illness who got hold of an AK-47 assault rifle and entered the building. The boy was dangerous and exchanged gunfire with police. Without Antoinette's intervention it's likely that lives would have been lost.

I didn't purchase this book but it was sent to me by the publisher asking if I would review or mention it in my blog. While it's not the sort of book I would usually buy, I had heard the story and had already made a note to find out more and write about what unfolded.

Antoinette has gone through her own share of grief and personal pain which led her to consider suicide, and ironically she asked a friend to get her a gun to end her life. She is convinced that God helped her through her own crises and that her purpose in living was to be the person who could express God's love to this young man. She told him that God loved him and that she did too and she said it with absolute conviction. Even though he was volatile and suicidal, in the end he surrendered and no one was seriously hurt.

I'm not so sure that we are predestined for God's purposes, agents in a divine plan. Too often terrible things happen to good people, including those who are called to causes of mercy and compassion. If she had died that day I don't think it would have been God's intention. Yet I am grateful that she was the right person at the right time for this troubled boy to hear that he mattered and is loved. I admire Antoinette greatly for her grace and courage and deep Christian faith. She deserves our admiration and respect. I'm glad that she has been lauded by the president and others, but I wish America would regain its sanity when it comes to possession of weapons.

Do you think we are prepared for a purpose as Antoinette does, and Owen Meany did in the novel? Is life too random to believe this?  Is there a difference between being predestined for a cause and responding to the occasion out of our Christian faith and convictions?

If you want to read more, I have the book!


Judy Mcknight said...

It has been a long time since I read "Owen Meany" ... I think we are all equipped with specific gifts and talents, and some are nurtured well, to the point where we are not satisfied unless these gifts are put to use, answering to a call to do a specific kind of work - I also think there are situations where we are , indeed, the right person, at the right time, and in the right place to do something specific; I believe people are "called" to a life of service in certain vocations - teaching was the only vocation that would have suited me well ... and I am sure many clergy (actually, all, I would hope) would declare a calling in their chosen career as ministers). For folk in jobs or careers where there is not such an obvious focus on a call to serving God and others, and where the work, indeed, may seem to be drudgery, one can look for the opportunity to respond to the call of God in the work place ... there probably is no kind of work at all where God cannot be present ...

Laurie said...

Would like to read it, very long list at the library to get it.

David Mundy said...

Thanks to you both. Hmm. For some reason they sent me two copies Laurie. Would happily share one with you...but how?