North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

I learned quickly while on active duty military training at Fort Dix, New Jersey that our time was going to be lively, strenuous, and emotional. More taxing than the austere conditions we were living under, was the news of events taking place back home. In the first twenty-four hours, two Soldiers from separate units received American Red Cross messages that loved ones back home had been killed and another died due to illness. Both Soldiers were Christians and believed in God’s divine love, but they were distraught. Separate from each other they both ask me, “Why did this happen Chaplain?” and “Why did God do this to me at this time?” I spent time with them both and felt the burden on their hearts as they shared. The realization that they couldn’t do anything to change what had happened back home was distressing. Even more heartbreaking was the fact they were not home where they could be with grieving family members. My words for them are the same for us all. A part of living is dying. Whether it’s a human or a family pet, to let go of life can be a blessing depending on the circumstances. It’s not always easy to understand. And there’s nothing we can do to bring them back. But when love is shared between two hearts; the heart never forgets. And that means they will always be with you; at least in your heart. Sometimes with death, it’s the right thing to happen. Death is like closing the eyes and instead of the darkness you see the light.

This is a striking reminder that we are people living in a fallen world where bad things can happen and do happen in a moment’s notice. We carry with us the emotional and physical scars to prove the heartaches that befall us. Relationships are frequently changed. Cancer strikes without warning. Children become neglected by self-serving and mentally-wounded parents. Jobs seem to disappear. Houses are foreclosed on. And sadly our most innocent and vulnerable people are preyed upon by powerful, but pathetic individuals. And the arm of justice doesn’t always allow the punishment to fit the crime. Suffering is a frequent visitor to some and will eventually knock the doors down and enter your own private world. This is the nature of a world that sits in the ravages of sin.

When will we be free from the difficulties and tragedies that spring up in our lives? Unless Jesus comes before you pass away, never in this lifetime will you see an end to the heartache that deeply affects us. But God tells us that those who trust Him with their life have been given a new citizenship in heaven. A Christian has a dual citizenship in the physical life—the one in heaven, which is permanent, and the temporary one on earth. For the believer, this sin-sick world is not your permanent home and life for you doesn’t cease when you draw your last breath. Christians are visitors, so-journers, out-of-towners who are passing through this life, making their way to their heavenly home.

When life hurts us, we need a distraction. A worthy one that helps us focus on something greater. Colossians 3:1-2 says, “You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth.” It’s not a matter of sticking your head in the sand until the dark clouds go away, but it’s a matter of looking ahead to a marvelous pain-free future in heaven. Whether you’re going through grief from the loss of a loved one, a broken heart, injured or sick body, a financial problem, or a deep struggle in your faith; your story is being written day by day. Certain people need to hear your story so that you can help others. Work and serving others is good for grief. Live with purpose knowing there is no one else exactly like you in the world. Live in a way that your life reflects humbleness and sensitivity to people who struggle with the issues of life. So when you’re gone, you will be remembered and appreciated by all those that knew you.

Until the end, remember hope can be found within the broken pieces of your heart and mind. This hope can become a greater hope as you look to your real home, the place in which Christ himself has said he has gone to prepare a place for you (John 14:3). This is the place where God’s presence is especially known and unmistaken. In that place there will be no more aches and paralyzed arms and legs will move again. The blind will see the colors of the rainbow that God has painted in all of His glory. Your loved ones who have gone on before will greet you with joy on their faces—their arms will embrace you forever and never let go. You and I are closer today than we were yesterday. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:14, “For there is no permanent city for us here on earth; we are looking for the city which is to come (heaven).” No matter how things are going for you or your family, remind yourself regularly that this world is not your home. Heaven is to be your final destination, and you’ll soon be there. Make preparations by finding a loving church to attend and start living for Christ today.

This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and is a Captain (CPT) in the U.S. Army Reserves Chaplain Corp. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Feb 23 2014. Filed under Living With Purpose, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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