By John Hutchinson
The ultimate question — why live?
What are we doing on a tiny sphere which spins like a top as it orbits a fireball in space the only hospitable planet we know of in the universe!
Each revolution and rotation brings changes, challenges and new experiences — ever confronting us with the enigmas of existence and the ultimate question — why are we here?
I remember a troubled teenager — desperately needing something to get him going. He helped on the farm, and for days rarely spoke. One day he said, “Do you know what my problem is? — I’ve got nothing to live for — I’m bored out of my wits, and if there’s a tablet which would kill me — told me about his mates. He said, “They don’t care whether they’re dead or alive.”
That’s truly tragic. Young guys charged with energy and potential yet brooding in boredom, on a stony road to nowhere. But, that’s not how it should be.
Time and place
We’re given time and space but need to remember we’ll run out of days. We get just one shot at life and need to get it right.
Some find it too hard and self destruct. One such person said all he wanted was to be happy. But, happiness eluded him.
Happiness and meaning eludes many who give in to futility and say ‘no’ to living.
Life’s an unpredictable road of twists and turns, potholes and jagged stones — you never know what’s around the next bend.
It’s when we’re up against it that questions of meaning will most likely surface in our thinking. The great sufferer, Job, said, “Why was I born to suffer like this?”
Imagine the thoughts of those who tried to stay sane in prison of war camps and those feebly trying to move their feet in the horrid and inhumane death marches.
When diagnosed of terminal illness it’s hard to think straight about life’s purpose? Those afflicted with unexpected tragedy and loss ask the never ending question, ‘why?’
There’s a time for everything, they say. The right time is the best time and, if we’re young, there’s no time like the present time.
“Remember your creator in the days of your youth,” says the Bible. Get it right when you’re young and you’ll have it right for the rest of your days.
Young people seem to think they’re indestructible and take risks they’d never take when older. Too many have ended up in crashed cars.
We’re only young once!
Our purpose here was described to some inquisitive philosophers about two thousand years ago. A stranger came to the city of Athens and met with them. They asked him to speak.
In his speech he identified, from God’s point of view, our reason for being here. He said,
‘God gives us life and breath... And has made from one all the nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth, and has determined the times for them to live and the boundaries of their existence that they should seek the Lord and happily find him.’Acts 17:6’
The reason human beings live and move on this unique and wonderful planet is “that they should seek the Lord and happily find Him” (Acts 17:6). How stupendous! Discovering our Creator, finding God Himself!
One reason we’re devoid of meaning, is that we’re taught to believe there’s no influence over matter, no ultimate power. It’s all an incredible fluke, the result of mindless chance.
Purpose, however, is linked directly to creation — to the God who designed us. His purpose must become our purpose. To seek and find God is our ultimate and most urgent quest.
But, how do we find the invisible God?
To the inquirers at Athens the apostle Paul revealed some vital information when he said, ‘…God is not far from anyone of us.’
He’s not far from the despondent teenager — not far from the rejected, troubled and lonely — not far from those doing time in prison — not far from those about to pass from this life. He’s not far from you and me!
The Bible says: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).
• What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. (Westminster shorter catechism)