Today I would like to invite us all in this New Year to pause for a moment and ponder a small cluster of questions “Why do I exist?” “What is my purpose in life?” Ultimately, “Why am I here?” It is essentially impossible to get through life without asking these questions but our relation to these questions vary from person to person. Perhaps these are questions that we hardly ever think about, a vague abstraction, tiptoeing around the corners of a life that is far too busy to pause and think. Or maybe we are more familiar with it, possibly from time to time it jumps out at us, like a scary stranger from the shadows, and leaves us with heart pounding and a knot in the pit of our stomach that maybe we are on the wrong road. Maybe it is more like the buzzing fly in our brain that just won’t leave us but still to fast for us to catch. Maybe it is a familiar friend that keeps us company while we plan our day. They are such good questions that when properly considered and answered become a guiding light that keeps pulling us back to what really matters. But it will do us no good if we do not consider our answers to these questions.
Perhaps the most important thing, after asking the question itself, is to consider where we will draw the answer from? Will we derive it from the culture around us? Will we take it from our family, our employer, our friends, our teachers, our own desires, or somewhere else? Our beliefs play in here as well. If I consider that I came in from nothing, the byproduct of a random process of millions of years of accidents, it is hard to derive any substantial meaning to any of the questions listed above other then perhaps that I exist to dominate weaker species. Meaning is irrelevant you are a meaningless and transitory blob of matter in the universe and the idea that you should mean something is completely ridiculous.
However, for some reason our human hearts are completely unsatisfied with such an answer. If that is the right one how come it feels so wrong…so empty…so hopeless. Our hearts long for meaning, for purpose, for a life that matters. All of that is internal evidence that points dramatically to a different place of origin. Meaning can only exist when there is intentionality, a mind a purpose behind things. The only reason that these words on a page or screen have any meaning is because there is intelligent intent behind the arrangement of the smears of black on white. In a similar way in every heart vibrates a sense that there is or should be a meaning to our existence. All of these point to the powerful reality of the creator. They also point to the reality that this creation has in some way lost its purpose and meaning. And for the Christian it comes as no surprise this is exactly the narrative that we find in the Bible. We do have a Creator which is why we have a sense that our life should mean something. We also discover that humanity in general and all of us in particular struggle with our sense of meaning because we have lost our way trying to create our own meaning and discovered that it left us in a nightmare.
But as a Christian we also have an incredibly encouraging hope. Our creator has not given up on us, indeed He gave everything for us so that we could be given “life and life more abundantly” John 10:10. Hope, meaning and purpose are freely available. For all who will accept it there is an incredible family waiting “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”(1 John 3:1). This new year I would like to invite us to reflect on these questions. Is my life heading in a direction that satisfactorily answers those questions? Is it time for a course correction in this new year?