In this series I’m tackling Life’s Biggest Questions:
and other big questions like…
Is God real?
Why does God allow evil?
Where will we go when we die?
What is my purpose?
I was raised in a non-denominational church led by imperfect people, as every church is led by imperfect people. We cannot count on church leaders to be our only source of information of God, and any good priest or pastor will tell you that same thing. A good pastor can give you a lesson to take home and continue to study on your own. A good church provides a beautiful place to worship God with other people. A good church provides a place to gather together in the name of Jesus. A good pastor can help you sort through your questions and teach you what the Bible means. But if you really want answers from God, you must get to know God for yourself. I’m starting here because I believe many people have abandoned the idea of God because of the hypocrisy they witnessed in their churches. We must first understand that churches are led by imperfect human beings, and only God is God.
My purpose in writing this is to encourage people to move forward in their own relationship with God. Jesus told his followers to “seek and it will be given to you”, and this includes answers that provide peace in your heart about the burning questions of life. Do you want to know if God is real? Start talking to God and saying “God, if you are there, please reveal yourself to me”. Your seed of faith starts with an “if”. Open your mind to the possibility and just ask yourself, “what if God is real?”
For me, evidence of God begins within my own heart and soul, and moves out from there. The Bible is relevant to me today, because the people in the Old Testament had experiences in their lives that are similar to those that I go through. No, I have never needed to grab an oxgoad and charge after Philistines, but there are many battles in my life that I have overcome and continue to face. The way that the people in the Old Testament reacted to their circumstances, are the way that people today in 2014 react to circumstances. They doubt, they worry, they question God, they wonder if they’re good enough, they make mistakes and need fresh beginnings. By reading their true stories, I can learn from their choices and actions, both good and bad.
So I want to begin with the recommendation of starting your search for all the answers to Life’s Biggest Questions by looking within yourself. What do you feel? What do you long for? What are you passionate about? What are you chasing after? Do you feel anything? Did you used to feel strongly for something, yet no longer do? Are you at the point of feeling dead inside?
You see, I believe every one of us was created with a great purpose. There is a reason we are here, and it isn’t to work our butts off until we’re too old to work anymore only to end up dead in the ground. Our souls and inner beings did not evolve from tiny particles. There is something in us that has been created to last for eternity, and there is a reason that we all want to believe there is more to life than what we can see. When answering Life’s Biggest Questions, we cannot let go of those things within. Even the pro-evolution scientists and atheists who want to prove God is not real, are filled with a passion and a fire about life… there is so much within them yet they continue to argue against it. If you did not have a soul, you would not have a desire to express yourself.
As we move forward in answering the questions, tie each of them into your own heart, passions, and desires. Your vision for your future is a key piece to the puzzle. When I was a homeschooling parent, one of the first workshops I took in learning how to plan my child’s education, explained the need to start all planning by looking at the end of each year. “What is it that you want your child to know by the end of the year?” Each day’s lesson plans go under that question. The same is for you and me today. Where do you see yourself at the end of life? Today is a puzzle piece of the big picture. Each day is valuable. Every breath matters. Your life counts for something!
So let’s take that and dive into Life’s Biggest Question… what is the meaning of life? What’s the point? What is the purpose of this? This answer is my personal opinion and observation and combination of experiences and what I have learned by reading the Bible. I believe that the purpose of life is to be tested. It began with the very first people in the Bible, Adam and Eve, and continues through to each of us today. God told them, “here… I want to give you this entire garden! Eat whatever you want! Except that one fruit.” It was a test.
The next question would most likely be, “why would God test us?” That answer I believe comes from understanding the beginning of evil and the fall of God’s enemy, the devil. By understanding his fall, even more questions are answered. God created all of the angels, including one named Lucifer. Lucifer was beautiful. He was adorned in rare gemstones. Remember, God is the one who gave him his great beauty and made him who he was.
Let’s pause for a moment… did you make yourself? Did you form your face, your body, your hands, your hair, your skin? Did you put your cells together to form every part required to live and move? Did you give yourself the breath of life? Your parents did not create you either. Your parents had sex, but they had no control over what was happening within your mother’s womb aside from delivering and receiving the seeds. Birth is a miracle! An entire human being starts with two cells. By denying this miracle, you deny your own purpose. Your gifts, your talents, your abilities, and your body were all given to you by God. He originally created the devil as an angel for good, and he originally created us for good as well.
But he also gave us a brain and an opportunity to choose. Why did he allow us all to choose? If God already knows everything, why didn’t he just create the good ones from the start? Initially I was going to answer this with “I don’t know why”, but in the back of my mind I’m hearing “none of us are the good ones.” Truly, I don’t know the answer to this. What I do know is God follows through with what he says he will do, and if God did not have the almighty power and ultimate decision and control over everything, he would not be God. So now that I am here on planet earth without control over the universe, I have a choice to make. I can choose to accept that I am not God and embrace his rules for my life, or I can fight against him because I don’t agree with his plan. Hmmm…
Back to the story of Lucifer… in Ezekiel 28:17 God is talking in reference to the devil in the garden of Eden, and says “your heart became proud because of your beauty”. Isaiah 14:13-14 God is also speaking in reference to the devil and says “You said to yourself: ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will set up my throne above the stars of God… I will ascend above the highest clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” And that was the beginning of evil on earth. It was when the devil decided he didn’t need God and had a better plan.
I believe that this life is our opportunity to choose… do we need God or do we not? There is only one right answer, and if you know the truth, you pass the test. If you insist that you do not need God, you are not accepted into heaven. Imagine if we got to heaven and then decided that we were so amazing that we don’t need God, do you think the story of Satan would repeat itself?
Let’s go back to what is going on within you today. What are your dreams, visions, and goals? What are you chasing after? What do you long for? Success? Happiness? In life, we have a choice. We can chase after the material possessions of the earth, in order to prove ourselves and make ourselves happy, or we can chase after God, and allow him to bless us with everything. This is the test. In order to choose the latter, we must be willing to say “I need God.” It truly is this simple.
This is where Jesus Christ comes in. God gave us the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament. Jesus reaffirmed these commandments in his teachings, and even stepped up the notch of perfection that would be required of us to fulfill these, by adding that even to think about any such things is the same as following through with them (Matthew 5:21-28). Chances are if you were pushed away from God because of what happened in a church, it goes back to these laws. The church people told you how horrible you were for not being able to live up to the guidelines. And most likely these very people were not able to fully obey the law and be perfect either, yet they did not hesitate to tell you why God is disappointed in you. Unfortunately, these churches miss the whole point! So what is the point?! Why does God make it so hard to meet his expectations? Because he just wants you to say “I cannot do it. I need a Savior.” Because if we can’t put our pride aside in order to admit our need for Jesus, we’ll end up like the devil did! Thinking we can be better than God. Thinking our beauty and greatness came from ourselves.
God just wants you to know that you need him. And that is why he sent Jesus Christ to save you and me. All we have to do in order to be saved, is let our pride go and to say “I need Jesus.” It is the ultimate test of life.
Continue to Part Two…