Belief in God can help us find a purpose in life that we are currently lacking - David J Nixon
During lockdown many of our lives were reduced to mere existence. This forced us to ask questions like: ‘what is the meaning of life?’
Have you ever wondered if life has a purpose?
Although we live at a time of unparalleled safety, comfort and opportunity, the cultural air that we breathe is heavy with the musk of emptiness and flatness. We’ve even had to give it a name: “ennui”. These are symptoms of a deeper problem: a spiritual crisis of meaninglessness.
Our secular society has discovered the hard way that a world without God is a world without purpose. We’re no longer pilgrims on the road to a destination, but wanderers on a never ending journey. We’re still avid consumers of stories, but we’ve stopped believing that there is a divine Author who brings significance to the story of our lives. That’s why atheist Noah Yuval Harari can write in his best-selling book “Sapiens” that “life has no meaning”; there are only the stories that we invent to make sense of our otherwise meaningless existence.
Nevertheless, a former sceptic turned Christian, C.S. Lewis once reflected: “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should have never found out it has no meaning: just as, if there was no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark”. If it were true that the universe came from nothing for no purpose, then it’s a curious thing that we so intensely yearn for purpose. The fact is that all of us desire our lives to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves. And that desire makes better sense in light of the Bible’s story that everything came from nothing because it was created with a purpose by Someone. At the centre of history and God’s story is the divine person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is good news for our world teetering on the edge of the abyss of nihilism. The human race struggles with meaninglessness because we have a problem of sinfulness. And “sin” is demanding to be the author of your own story and destiny.
Humanity attempted to find life by stepping out of God’s story of paradise, only to step into a nightmare of nihilism. Imagine that Harry Potter decides that he’s fed up with JK Rowling: his mum and dad were murdered, his uncle, aunt and cousin are abusive; he’s been attacked by two-faced teachers, giant snakes, and soul sucking dementors. Harry’s now so fed up with Rowling’s dramatic story that he decides he wants to write his own comedy script instead. However when he tries to step off the edge of the page, he discovers that it means stepping into oblivion – there can be no independent life for the character disconnected from the Author. That’s why sin leads to death. That’s why life in this world appears meaningless, because everyone we know and everything we do will be undone by death. All our self-made stories end up as tragedies!
Nevertheless, God has done something to make it possible for each of our stories to have a happy ending. Whereas sin is our attempt to step out of God's story, salvation is God the author stepping into history, entering into this world and becoming one of us, to rescue us from the tragedy of despair and death. Jesus has suffered the penalty for our sins and conquered the power of death. Jesus invites us into relationship with Himself: to surrender the pen - to make His story our story – to share in His happily ever after ending.
Only in God’s story can our lives become truly meaningful and we find the purpose that we were created to fulfil.Rev David J Nixon, Solas
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.