Why are we here?
I'm in the middle of reading a fascinating book called Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller. He makes some interesting observations about our past and present views of God and how to explain the existence of suffering and evil. One thing that struck home with me had to do with that age old question, "Why am I here?" Generations ago people answered that question with something like this, "To fulfill the purpose God has given to me. To bring Him glory." Skip ahead to today and we have become a culture whose current focus is self.
We went from a society that wanted to please the God who made us to one that wanted God (if He exists) to make us happy.
Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who survived Nazi death camps (quoted in the above mentioned book), said this:
"The problem is that contemporary people think life is all about finding happiness. We decide what conditions will make us happy and then we work to bring those conditions about...But when suffering comes along, it takes the conditions for happiness away, and so suffering destroys all your reason to keep living."
When I stop and think about this man's comment, it kind of makes me squirm. Why? Because I see myself in his words. In my contemporary mindset, I pursue happiness too. Not as much as I used to, but the desire for conditions to fall the way I want them to are still there. If conditions had gone my way in the past number of years, my life would look differently than it does today. But one thing life teaches us sooner or later is that we really can't bring those conditions about. We have no control in this life over anything except our own choices.
So if we aren't here to find happiness, which is beyond our ability to control if it depends on anyone but our own attitudes, then why are we here?
Jesus knew why He was put on this earth. And even from childhood He told His earthly parents that He had to be about His Father's work.
Why are we here? Because God created us to be here at this time and in this place for His purpose.
Why did He come? More on that tomorrow.