The Meaning of Life is…
While working as a bereavement counselor, I stumbled upon the source of everyone’s issues, and, ironically, the meaning of life. It all came down to a question. Whether poor, rich, black, brown or white, educated, uneducated, whether older or younger, even mental health issues… we all ask the same question.
You see, as we mature, each of us builds a tower. Each block, built one upon another, are our achievements, goals, dreams, inner and outer life, beliefs, delusions, mistakes, and lessons learned. But, when the absolute nature of death comes along, it sweeps our whole tower away, leaving us to face the bare naked foundation of why we did everything we did… and, therein, is found our question:
“Am I wanted?”
Was I a good boy? Was I a good girl? Was I a good mother? A good father? Sibling, friend, mate? Do you want me? Am I loved? Am I valuable? And, unfortunately, because we live in a broken sinful world, the answer for many of us is, “no”. You were a burden, a mistake, a disappointment. Or perhaps we get a conditional, “if”.
And, so, we spend our years in the facades of approval seeking. Climbing social ladders. Attempting to hang on to youth. Chasing money and power. Burying ourselves in various addictions and roles. Or, at the very least, going through years of therapy and self-development to overcome the lies of others.
When I later became a pastor, I considered this question in relation to the cross of Christ. Why it is so powerful for some people? It’s because, for many, the cross is the first time they have ever been truly loved and wanted. The cross is God proving to you that you hold an equal value to His own Son in His heart. That you are more valuable to His Son, than His own life.
And in this we find the meaning of life. It is obvious. The meaning of life is love. To be loved and to give love. Whether it be family, friend, faith, or lover. And it is a love that proves itself through action, and not just talk.
And isn’t that what we always longed for? A parent who actually cares? A sibling who stands up for you no matter the cost?! A family that not only says they love you, but acts upon their love for you! As the scripture says in Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV), “The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’”
For me, this speaks volumes about what is actually real. Whether it be existential or material. Why? Because, just as logic demands, it is repeatable and quantifiable. In the absence of love, our species and our world become self-destructive. And this is what the Bible has always called, sin. For it is, by definition, selfish-indifference. Its fruit is separation, sorrow, and ultimately, emotional and physical death.
But, when real love is present, it brings happiness, joy, meaning, and fulfillment. And this is what the Scripture calls, righteousness. Why? Because love is the very nature and presence of God. As it says in Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV), “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness.”
Isn’t this really what we have always longed for? To be appreciated for who we naturally are, and what we instinctively offer to the world?! And, so, this brings us back to our question of, “Am I wanted?” The truth is, absolutely, you are wanted! You are not a burden. God says, “I love you irregardless of the mistakes. Because you were created for a purpose. Your life has meaning. And no one can take that away from you unless you allow it.”
Indeed, once we mature enough to see outside of ourselves, to see that even our faulty parents were just people trying to figure life, we begin to see that even broken families have love. And really, this is what that Jesus has been trying to heal all along:
“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no one to help me’ Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And immediately the broken man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.” John 5:6-9 (NKJV)