Searching for meaning is a common feeling for all people. We often look at the seemingly random and purposeless things that happen around us and feel helpless to put together the purpose behind them.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”
Ecclesiastes 1

Is this feeling wrong?So often we hear from our fellow Christians, “God has a plan!” and “His ways are not for us to understand.”Is that what the Bible teaches?Are sufferings always a punishment, or happy things a reward? The Bible says that God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. Is a lack of faith a sign of weakness? The Bible says that each one is given a measure of faith. Is sadness or joy or anger a sign of harmony or discord between us and God?Paul said this:

I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. Philippians 4

The purpose and the meaning were not found in the circumstances Paul faced, nor from his emotional reaction to those things. Paul’s meaning was in his relationship to God which remained unchanged in the face of those outside things.The meaning and the purpose in our lives is not something we encounter but something we bring about. When we feel like meaning eludes us, it’s because we are not making meaningful things happen.

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published June 16, 2020