“Once we ask whether life is meaningful, there is no turning back,” says Dennis Ford, author of the book, The Search For Meaning: A Short History. I agree. Reminds me of the time, as a little boy, that I pigeon-holed my father, forcing him to answer the question, “Is Santa Claus real?”. Once I asked the question there was no turning back!
Is life meaningful? This is not merely an academic question. As a pastor and spiritual leader I have performed and attended funerals of young people who committed suicide or battled addiction to harmful substances because they felt that life was no longer worth living. On a regular basis, NorthLife Church where I serve, encounters lonely, depressed, alienated outsiders, for whom life feels meaningless.
What’s the answer? Is there one? Actually, as in many cases of problems facing our world today, there are many answers, but few real solutions. For example…
- Advertisers tell us that happiness and meaning come through the acquisition of things.
- Science tells us that happiness and meaning is a function of “discovering and controlling the only world they believe exists” the physical, material world.
- Religion tells us that happiness and meaning come through “connecting to a transcendant, higher realm that exists behind and beyond this earthly one beneath our feet.
- Secularists tell us happiness and meaning come from “satisfying our hedonistic desires for pleasure, success or fame”; the old sex, drugs and rock-n-roll cliche’ and “eat, drink and be merry” motto come to mind.
- Post-modernists tell us that meaning is “inside” each of us; life is “what we make it”.
Many spiritual seekers, like myself, have attempted to travel down each of these paths only to find them ultimately unsatisfying. The ‘Yellow Brick Road’ promising to take them to THE place of wisdom and joy turned out to be a dead-end street. Many get frustrated and stop thinking at all, hopping in their imagined convertible, driving with the wind in their hair while they sing along with the Rolling Stones, “I can’t get no satisfaction, and I try and I try and I try and I try…I can’t get no…satisfaction!”
My conclusion? 3 Thoughts:
1. If there’s really no meaning that exists under the sun, our only hope must lie above it…LOOK TO GOD.
2. If the wisest men on earth have found no real solutions, then we must look to heaven itself for those answers…CONSIDER HEAVEN.
3. If God can raise Jesus from the dead, then He can ‘resurrect’ meaning in your life and mine…TRUST JESUS!
I’d love to hear from you. Your thoughts? What has helped you find meaning in your life? How do you deal with the threat of meaninglessness?
“I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6