Thursday, October 17, 2002
Why am I alive?
Does my life matter?
What is my purpose?
For those who don't reflect often upon "deep things", they say these three questions are asked by all human beings at one point in their lives or the other, because they deal with the questions of existence, significance, and intention.
People often ask me what difference faith makes in my life and my responses often run along the lines of those three questions, or at least they usually did. Because so much of own life has revolved around the nature of faith itself, these questions are at the heart my present personal dilemma. I'm sure some people would like to think I'm some sort saintly person running the proverbial race of a "faithful life", but here I am... barely even crawling. More like wallowing in self-doubt. Rolling around in despair.
Ironically, it is this doubt, this despair, this... dissatisfaction with my life that is evidence to me of my faith. CS Lewis once wrote that unhappiness with life here on Earth is as strong a prompt for faith and belief in God as any other evidence. After all, in the midst of this world, surrounded by imperfection, we still have a sense in our minds of something better... we have an idea of the most perfect perfection, a life free of evil and full of peace, and we long for it, because it is what God originally intended. Instead, like fish out of water, we're here... eternal beings in fleshy bodies, stuck in a corrupted world.
Heaven is my home and I'm a pilgrim in an unholy land. Word to your moms.
In my own life, I'm beginning to suspect that my own acute sense of spiritual reality to be the cause of my malaise. These passing days, I find myself frequently comparing my present to my days when I was in Brasil back in the summer of 2000, probably one of the most blissful times in my life. I didn't have a computer, I didn't have a car, I worked 6 hour days teaching English... hell, I only had enough clothes for 8 days (thank goodness for washing machines). Yet despite every physical and material discomfort I suffered on that mission trip, I was happy beyond contentment. I had passion, I had purpose... more than that, I had confidence that wasn't from myself... it was a confidence knowing that God wanted me there, at that place, at that time.
How could I ever possibly desire to live differently, to live and work without that same feeling? I've glimpsed a sampling of a truly blessed and purposeful life, and I can't bear the thought of living any other way. It's like eating a steak at $100 plate restaurant and then deciding you want to just eat 69 cent hamburgers from McDonald's for the rest of your life. I think very few people who know me in real life understand this. Their encouragement is patronizing comments like, "Oh maybe you'll find something to just do for awhile, like working at a grocery store."
Maybe I'm too idealistic. Maybe I'm getting selfish with my time here on this dustball called Earth... where is my purpose at, God? What do you want me to do, where do you want me to go? I'm just a man, waiting for hint, a clue, an inkling! Grant me a vision, a burning passion...
I should go to sleep.
"I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor--it is the gift of God.
I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by."
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