What is life all about?
One of the biggest questions life has to ask us is: What am I living for? What is my purpose for rising in the morning and laying down in the evening? What is life all about?
Different people have different answers to this question. Some have suggested that happiness is life’s ultimate goal. But is it? Is there more to life than just being happy? The reality is that life is composed of moments of ups and downs, victories and failures, sadness and happiness. Are happier people better off than the others? Is happiness all that there is for us to aspire for?
Some have suggested that being rich and famous are their goals in their life. The more money, cars, and properties you have, the better you are. Or if you are rock star, a great scientist, or a well-known sports celebrity, it is great for you. Being rich and famous also relates to being happy, as having fortune and fame tends to give you lesser problems to deal with. But you know what?
“I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”
Happiness, fame and fortune have a common thing working against them – they do not last. Happy people are never happy permanently, regardless of what the source of their happiness is. As the rock band The Rolling Stones sang it in the seventies, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” Even if someone becomes extremely famous or rich, he would not be content, knowing that someone else is more famous and richer than he is.
Deep in our hearts, we all cry that same mantra: we can’t get no satisfaction. If nothing truly satisfies in this life, surely life is a self-defeating struggle for something we cannot truly achieve. Or is it? Is there more to life than the time from our birth to our graveyard? What happens to us after we bite the dust?
We were made for something beyond this life
I believe the solution lies beyond our expiry date on earth. God created us, and He has a purpose for us. The reason why we can’t get satisfaction on earth is that we were meant for something beyond this life. C.S. Lewis, in his book “Mere Christianity,” expresses it profoundly:
The Christian says, Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it this way in a question-and-answer form:
Question: What is man’s primary purpose [chief end]?
Answer: Man’s primary purpose is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Humanity was created by God to be in friendship and fellowship with Him forever. We were created for something far beyond our temporal life on earth.
And lastly, Augustine of Hippo says it this way in his book, “Confessions:“
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
The restlessness of our hearts means it is never satisfied – until our hearts are attuned to God. The reason why nothing satisfies in this life is that we are meant to be satisfied with God. God created us with a longing for Him. No drugs, alcohol, riches, achievements, fame or happiness can replace God – He is the one we are truly longing. He alone satisfies.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”John 6:68-69 ESV
So, what are you living for?
Do you have no satisfaction in this life? God is the answer. Don’t look for it anywhere else; you will be just wasting your time. Nothing else satisfies but God alone. If we have God through Jesus in our life, we have more than enough. If we are looking for true purpose in life other than with God, we are like a dog chasing its own tail.
May we and all our friends, families and acquaintances find the one source of life’s true satisfaction. May we be instruments for them to know and believe the only satisfier of their souls.
Top image credit: Illustration of a highway landscape with a star-studded sky, from Bigstock.com, © by rolffimages, stock phot ID: 7365488.
Tom Caballes is a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with seven branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters [with his son-in-law and grand-daughter] live in Wellington, New Zealand.