Have you ever had a part of your life that seemed to sit unused and useless for a long time? Have you wondered if God has a purpose for it?
At a busy shopping centre I often drive by, there is a restaurant. For many years it was a pizza place. People came and went, enjoying the food and atmosphere. I ate there a couple of times.
Then one day a sign appeared on the door. The lights went off, and eventually, they took their logo down. They were closed.
For quite some time, the building sat empty, even as other stores and restaurants around them stayed busy.
Then someone bought the place. Construction vehicles started showing up. From the outside, we couldn’t see much change, but inside things were being improved.
They put up a new sign, then announced their opening.
For a while, people came, but soon the parking lot looked empty again. One day a sign appeared on the door saying it was closed.
Again it sat month after month with a closed sign. The lights were off and the parking lot abandoned.
Several years went by as the building sat empty. Countless people drove past it daily on the busy main roads, but no one stopped to go in.
True, the building was in the far corner of the shopping centre but it was very visible from the main roads. Why did it sit empty for so long?
Fast forward to March this year. With the coming of COVID-19, many businesses were temporarily closed. Shopping malls sat abandoned and restaurants empty.
One place, however, began to see action.
The parking lot of that long-abandoned building began filling.
First, some work crews showed up, then tents were erected outside.
Every time I saw it, I wondered who was moving in. Were they simply using the parking lot? Had another restaurant bought the place? I watched for clues.
Before long, I saw line-ups of vehicles outside. This particular building was surrounded on all four sides by a parking lot. The line-up of cars began at the tents and wound all the way around the building. What were they doing?
Then I found out. My city had set up several COVID-19 testing drive-through sites. This was one of them.
The long-abandoned building now had a purpose. Its parking lot was beautifully suited for the task.
Now, instead of sitting forgotten and unwanted, this building was helping save lives.
I believe God sometimes works this way in our lives.
Sometimes He gives us skills and abilities or previous experiences that seem to sit idle and unused for a season. We wonder why they exist. Could it be that God has a purpose for them?
Perhaps one day God will point to that part of my life or your life and say “Now is the time. I want to use you this way.”
The Bible gives some examples along these lines. Examples of situations when something seemed random or worthless, only to later become evidence that God has a purpose in everything He does.
It was some time after Esther was made queen that the king passed the law against the Jews. Only then did Mordecai say to her “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14b CSB)
Similarly, when David finally became king after fleeing from King Saul for years, I’m sure he found his experience from serving as Saul’s armour bearer useful. (1 Samuel 16:21)
Do you sometimes wonder what purpose God has for you?
Thankfully, we can trust that He knows what He is doing. God has a purpose. We don’t need to worry if there are talents or experiences in our lives that seem forgotten and unused right now. Just like the building, at the right time, God will use them as He sees fit.
As He said to Peter “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7 NIV)