Some time ago my husband reconnected with an old friend of ours from law school. His friend wrote:
“I see the long list of your impressive professional achievements. No surprise to me of course. Your faith is even more impressive from an outsider looking in. I've become an avid reader. It seems to me that the great writers and thinkers all want to answer the same question, one your faith answers for you: Why are we here?"
While we were at school together, none of us had any faith in God—that came later. But I was grateful that all these years later, this friend recognized the change. My husband, John, had indeed found the answer to the question that most everyone at one point asks of themselves.
I remember the first time I asked myself that very question. I was sixteen and had just received my driver’s license. My mother let me take her green Dodge Dart out for a drive. I was sitting at the only red light in town and happened to look at the other drivers. Where are they going? Do they have families? Are they happy? Why are they here? I then distinctly remember asking myself, why am I here? I wasn’t just asking why am I driving this car today in Thornwood, New York. No, the question was bigger and it burned in my heart. I knew that I wanted to know the answer. Could it be that I was put on this earth for a distinct purpose—that my life could be more than cruising the town, hanging with my friends, and even graduating high school and going to college. As crazy as it seems now, I think that moment was a turning point in my life.
For the next two decades I explored various answers. Popularity. Success. Money. Trying to find purpose in those things left me empty. So I added others that seemed more altruistic: Helping others. Marriage. Children. But I was never really at peace. I was always striving, but not satisfied. I see now that all of my answers began with the wrong focus—me! Why am I here really translated into: what are my desires, my goals and even my plans to help others? Finally, and I mean finally, I turned to God for the answer. I believed in a creator God, why had I not looked to see why He had created me.
Years ago, my husband bought a convertible sports car. He loved that car, while I in turn hated it. I hated to sit with him in that car when he was driving fast, and I hated convertibles in general—I hated what it did to my hair, and that I couldn’t hear the radio or any conversation. Ultimately, he sold the car. What is the purpose of having a car when it couldn’t be used for the purpose it was intended! (Admittedly, I now look back and feel badly!) Side note from the lawyer perspective: the foundation of patent law is that an invention has no significance absent an explanation from the inventor of the invention’s purpose and utility.
Well the same concept applies to us. God created us, and certainly He created us with a purpose. How sad that I was not living my life for the purpose I was created. As the author Max Lucado once wrote, “The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the creator of it. The same is true for discovering your life’s purpose: ask God.”
“In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind”. Job 12:10
I began to seek God’s Word for the answer. Why did God create mankind? Genesis records that God “walked” with Adam and Eve in the garden. While Adam and Eve broke that fellowship by sin, all of the rest of Scripture reveals God’s desire to restore that fellowship and live with us and in us—it is why He sent His Son. I ultimately came to realize that God created me to be with Him.
So how does my faith in God answer the question, why am I here? Simply, if He is with me, if I am seeking His will and His direction, I will naturally be fulfilling the purpose for which I was created. I don't have to strive on my own, I merely have to trust Him who created me.
“…but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4