Is there a purpose to life?
It’s an idyllic warm summer evening and you’re sitting in the garden with a glass of wine (or beer, or an OJ... anyway) work has finished, exams are over and the children are in bed.
You can almost taste the sweetness of life as you gaze at the beauty of the world around you. What a wonderful world... yes, Louis Armstrong was spot on. It seems that nature itself is one long beautiful poem as the deep green of the landscape sings a love song in each leaf and plant.
But the wonder fades, you start to sober up and the moment passes. You start to consider... another sip of cider... is there a purpose to all this?
It’s easy to enjoy life when nature is at its best or when we see the love flowing from a young mother to a newborn baby. But what about those difficult times, when happiness and enjoyment seem far away and all that’s left is a feeling of sadness? When we see earthquakes ripping the earth, leaving devastating destruction and death. Or when we find that a child has leukaemia?
Is there a purpose to it all? Is it just random? Is there an answer? Something to give meaning in the mess?
What is the meaning of life?
This is the question we asked people during the shows and events last year. Yes, a philosophical question, deep yet very simple. A question that caused many a furrowed forehead – probably a question that we don’t deal with very often. Yet, it must be a question that we’ve all considered. Many answers were offered, but these were the most common – I wonder if you agree?
It’s the last one that stands out – nothing, that there is no meaning to life. I wonder if that is what you believe? Perhaps you are of the opinion that we are just a collection of atoms, nothing more and nothing less. A viewpoint that seems to disregard everything. There’s no point to anything when all’s said and done – our relationships, work, hobbies and even our rights as people.
But let’s be honest, it’s difficult to live like that – it all seems so unnatural. We are creatures that need relationships, work and things to do. We love and mourn and feel things to the bone. Don’t be deceived and believe that there’s no point to life, or that all we’re here to do is survive and blindly pass our genes to the next generation. That path leads to destruction.
What about love? Maybe this is the one answer that encompasses the others. Love, what we feel, that which gives us reason to sacrifice for others and motivates us to carry on when things are difficult. Love can be seen everywhere – between husband and wife, between a parent and child, between friends, and even towards yourself. It’s a basic fact of life and it’s clear why it features so prominently on the list.
When we see real love, whether we give or receive it, we know that we’re on solid ground. Love is a foundation for life, as the Bible says:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
God’s love is amazing.
Even though all of us have turned our backs on God, our creator wants us to experience this real love. We deserve God’s righteous judgement, but he longs for us to turn to him and be restored.
God’s love is not a theory – we see the historical reality of it as Jesus died on the cross. As Jesus himself explains:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus lived the perfect life we couldn’t live and died on a cross to take the punishment we deserve. He did this to keep us safe and because of his amazing love. A person receives complete forgiveness and a fully restored relationship with God when they turn to Jesus in faith, confess their rebellion and trust in what he accomplished for us on the cross.
Nothing can compare to a relationship with the one who has given us love. Experiencing this costly love changes life and gives us freedom to live it to the full. This is the purpose and meaning of every Christian’s life.
So what about your life? Receiving and giving love is amazing, but Jesus’ love will never end – it will endure forever. Who are you going to turn to for love?
Written by Elin Bryn
First published in Ask Magazine August 2019