Origin, meaning, and destiny. Of all the earth’s creatures, humans stand alone in grappling with these abstractions. When put in question form, they look like this: “Where did I come from?” “Why am I here?” and “Where am I going?” It seems incomprehensible that anyone would choose to go through life without pausing to contemplate these issues. So many like to claim there is just no way to know, but this proves to be a fragile alibi–a self-imposed ruse designed to cloak and divert the eyes. For the Bible offers straightforward and coherent answers to all three questions, clear enough for anyone to see.
When I was a young man, the second question, “Why am I here?” was the proverbial 600-pound gorilla in the room that I pretended not to see. I alleged the inquiry was unanswerable and feigned indifference. But my nonchalance regarding a bona fide purpose to my life began to gnaw at me. It seemed a pathetically inadequate position to take, and so I began to search for answers–a search that soon brought to my notice an advertisement on late-night television. The ad was for Easton Press, a publishing company that was promoting the 100 greatest books ever written. One could argue endlessly which selections belonged on the list, but few would question that these were among the best in western literature (Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, War and Peace, et al.). I ordered the books and began an ambitious reading program.
Providentially, among the many redeeming features of the great classics are their consistent moral themes centering on the meaning of life. And so, little by little, as I continued to read I began to realize there was a reason for my life. Feigned indifference now seemed the child’s way out, much like when I was a sulky five-year-old and declared “just because” when responding to why I hid my green beans under the place mat–an unsatisfactory answer for anyone who is truly serious about seeking truth.
It was at this point that my life intersected with that of an acquaintance who one day asked if I would like to come to his Bible study group. I recall my response being something like, “Why in the world would I want to do that?” Thankfully, he didn’t reply “just because,” but instead pressed on: “What do you think about the Bible anyway–a good book or nonsense?” “I’m sure it’s a good book,” I muttered, then headed on my not-so-merry way. My mind was reeling and so was my heart, as the more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t escape my hypocrisy. Here I was reading the so-called 100 greatest books of western civilization and the Bible wasn’t even one of them! How could the hands-down all-time bestseller not be on the list? Even I, a self-proclaimed agnostic, knew that didn’t make sense.
I vowed in the interest of thorough research (I’d yet to realize God was leading this quest) to pick up a Bible and read it. And this I did over the next many months. It wasn’t my idea of fun, I didn’t understand much of it, and I found the genealogies boring beyond belief. But almost immediately my heart began to stir within me. The 600-pound gorilla began to come into view and soon was staring me right in the face. Why am I here? To glorify God, not myself! I had my answer, and it was an eye-opener. And yes, I also found answers to the other two questions as well.
Further details of my coming to Christ and the many people who are a part of that journey are a story for another day. For now, suffice it to say that God’s Holy Word continued to work in my heart, and within a few months I could no longer pretend God wasn’t the Creator of the universe, and hence the Creator of me. The trajectory of my life had changed forever.
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Once, and for a long time, that was me, as I stifled the questions that irrepressibly gather in the deep thoughts of every man. But no more. I know now where I come from, why I’m here, and where I’m going. Life is infused with great meaning by a pursuing God who has revealed man’s story of origin, meaning, and destiny to draw us to Himself. And though I still don’t care much for green beans, I do enjoy reading the Bible (including all those genealogies) immensely.
I hope this encourages you today to read the greatest book ever written.
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