Destiny in the straits

“Bonaparte remained in Paris, forming schemes for the gratification of his ambition, and his desire of making a figure in the world; but obstacles opposed all he attempted.”

This was said by Napoléon Bonaparte’s biographer. Yet, see how he went on to alter the course of history and become one of the most impactful leaders of all time. It was said by this biographer, that if Napoléon’s wishes had been granted when he desired a particular course, Europe’s fate – not to talk of his own fate – would have been markedly different.

Had Joseph enjoyed approval from his brothers, had he not been sold into slavery against his wish, had he not been falsely accused and put in prison, his destiny and the course of history may have been very different. At least we can say that his travails and tribulations contributed to his eventual enthronement and the rescue of a civilization.

As the scriptures say,”Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” 

This refers to eternal life and I am also convinced that it applies to the present. Maybe we should really rejoice when the way is difficult. Maybe the strait gate and the narrow path really leads to life, fulfillment and significance here now and the wide gate and the broad way leads to destruction and mediocrity. 

Moses too was raised as crown prince of Egypt but he only became ready to step into his destiny as one of the greatest leaders of all time after spending 40 precious years away from comfort and ease. While I am fully convinced his first 40 years enjoying opulence and being part of Egyptian royalty was key, I doubt if he would have been able to lead, had he not gone through the strait and narrow.

What if you really need a stint in the strait and narrow for your own good and that of others, if not for present and future generations? Maybe then we should rejoice when we have to go through discomfort, hurts and pain for a season, against our wishes. Could the obstacles on your way be a sign that you are being guided by an Invisible Hand to a destiny that is bigger than you? 

I hate my life

Reading Napoléon Bonparte’s biography, I came across a statement he made years before he appeared on the world stage. He had been falsely accused and placed under arrest. While convincingly arguing for his own immediate release as a Napoléon Bonaparte would, he said,

“…if my enemies wish for my life, let them take it. I have often given proofs how little I value it. Nothing but the thought that I may yet be useful to my country makes me bear the burden of existence with courage.”

I could not help but get hung up on that statement. Perhaps Jesus Christ is right when he said the way to significance is to disregard our lives. Given what Jesus said, given what Napoléon went on to accomplish in the world, for good or bad, perhaps I can say that if I love my life too much, I must be prepared to settle for mere existence rather than significance.

At the risk of sounding like I feel my life has a grand purpose, I dare say, of course my life has a grand purpose. How can it not, when I am not a product of evolution but a product of God’s mind and God’s Spirit? Between you and I, I am aiming for significance because I am designed for significance, a significance that transcends my time and transcends time. You are too.

The amplified version of Jesus’ statement says,

“Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.]

A fulfilling existence requires being able to say like Queen Esther in the pursuit of purpose, “If I die, I die.” I realize that I am not ready to really live until I am willing to die. I am not ready to impact with my writing until I am willing to be misunderstood or my writing thrown in the trash can. I am not ready to succeed until I am willing to woefully fail, losing all reputation. Ironically, I am not ready to be significant until I am willing to be insignificant. Safety is dangerous. I hate my life.