Friday, 13 July 2012

What does it all mean?

Guest blog with Tim Childs

Perhaps people have been pondering that question since the dawn of time; I know I do from time to time anyway. To some people, life means nothing more than having a good time: drinking, laughing, eating good food and doing the things they very much want to do. That doesn’t sound too bad to me, to be honest. 

To someone else, however, life is more than just enjoying themselves; more than pleasure, more than what it is on the surface. I hasten to add that in my own life I’ve been the consummate pleasure seeker and the thinking philosopher. I’m not a holier-than-thou person; in many respects I’m just an ordinary bloke who likes to think about things.

How do we square the mundane world we live in with the Christian reality God wants us to live out? We are in two worlds: the world of secularism, of sport, of pleasure, of strife and competition, the world that is very much out there; and the world we need to live in as Christians, where God’s laws and rules are the things that set us apart from most other people. We are like two people, one pulled in one direction and one pulled in the other. Is this the Christian life and, if so, what are we meant to do about it? How do we live in two realities?

So what does it all mean? Do we ever really think about that? Do we ponder life’s mysteries and hope for answers, even if they never come? Isn’t it part of the human condition to think; to think deeply about who we are, where we come from, how we got here and how everything come into being? We don’t just need to eat, sleep, work and aspire to better things. We’re more than automatons; we need answers – even if they never come.

Are we to somehow ignore the nagging thoughts we have, to bury them conveniently so we can just get on with our usually complicated lives? What are we to make of the questions that need answering? Who can really say? Haven’t wise men and great philosophers, great ancient thinkers and great holy men and women pondered all this long before today? And if they couldn’t come up with any credible answers, if they could make neither head nor tail of it all, why do we think we might be able to?

And how many realities are there? There is the Monday morning reality, there is the reality of the deadline, there is the inevitable reality of being let down by family and friends. There are perhaps as many realities as there are human beings. But, for me, there is the growing reality of God. We can’t ignore Him because He always has a way of making Himself known; through creation, to answered prayer or in the seemingly random twists and turns of fate. We never see His face, but somehow we know we’ve encountered Him, even if we can’t quite put a finger on how.

But does any of it actually mean anything, after all? Where we are going and what we want to do with our lives; will it make any difference? If we’re descended from apes, as some scientists and evolutionists claim, then it really doesn’t mean or amount to anything does it? 

If we are, however, specifically created by a loving God, a creator who has only ever wanted the best for us, where does that leave us? Don’t we have a duty to find out what He wants from us? Whatever you believe, it is obvious that human beings stand apart from the rest of creation. We are special, we are different, we are restless and creative, never satisfied and wanting to push boundaries; it’s the human condition.

For me, becoming a Christian wasn’t the end of my journey, it was in fact the beginning of my journey; the beginning of finding out who I am, what I am about, where I come from and where I am going. It is a journey that involves an intimate relationship with my creator and one that starts anew each day. I still don’t fully know what God has in store for me, but I am eager to find out. It is more than religion, more than fulfilling a set of rituals, far more than being religious (whatever that means). It is a walk with God, a 24/7, day-to-day reality that shapes my life and defines who I am and what I do.

So again, what does it all mean? You know, I don’t have the answer to that question; not fully anyway. But I see light at the end of the tunnel, not darkness but light. If we want to know the answers to the big questions, then who better to ask than He who created us? I still have so many questions, but don’t we all? Question after question assails me, but I know one day I will have all the answers I seek. 

Find out more about life's big questions in the next issue of Sorted magazine.

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