PV2 Pete and I met for coffee Thursday at his favorite "watering and watching" hole, Panera Bread. Pete told me he enjoys going there because it helps him forget some of what he's going through. "I like to people watch and Panera is a great place to do that.....you see all kinds. Some are real knock-outs, if you know what I mean", he referenced. "Yes, Pete, I do", I said. "Perhaps we best move on to other subjects", I said smiling.
If you'll recall at our last writing, Pete had a meeting with the Care Core Director at his church. The exchange went surprisingly well, according to Pete. At least for starters. Not more than five minutes after he met with his support person, we ran into each other. For over an hour we talked about a wide-range of topics. At the end, I felt prompted to mention to Pete to pick up a copy of Rick Warren's book, "A Purpose Driven Life". I was curious of he had. "Pete, were you able to hit the library and get Rick Warren's book", I inquired. ""Sure did...made it through the first chapter Monday night", he said. "And it's got me thinking alot", he added.
|Return to Normalcy?....it has its Purpose|
As Pete and I continued our conversation, I could see he was intrigued by the book. For it's in those first foundational words, that Warren captures ones curiosity. For us all, here are some of the questions from that first chapter:
Have you ever wondered about, or felt confused about, the purpose of your life?
Being confused about your purpose in life is not a bad thing. It is actually something that can awaken a desire to seek the truth about who we are and why we’re here.
One of the wisest men in history, King Solomon, who ruled the nation of Israel after his father, David, was confused about his purpose in life. He once wrote, “I, the Teacher, was king of Israel and I lived in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done in the world. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. Everything under the sun is meaningless, like chasing the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:12-15 NLT).
A lot of people are surprised to find out that such statements are in the Bible, and that God himself would be blamed as being responsible for our meaningless lives. But the key to Solomon’s observation is where he places the seat of this wisdom as being “under the sun.” Solomon is saying that if he looks at our human existence trapped on this planet and tries to explain it using human reason and accomplishments “under the sun,” that he can’t come to any better conclusion than life is meaningless.
What ways have you tried to discover your life’s purpose that haven’t worked?
Have you ever wondered if a good deal of advertising appeals to the need we all have for purpose and meaning in life? Buy this car, drink this beer, go to this school, wear this make-up, purchase this insurance and you will have meaning in life. (…and for everything else, there’s MasterCard.)
The real truth about human nature never changes. Almost 400 years ago, Blaise Pascal, a brilliant French scientist and philosopher explained the dilemma of human existence as a God-shaped vacuum in the center of the human heart—a need for God that He placed there that won’t be satisfied by anything other than God Himself. In Pascal’s own words:
What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object—in other words, by God Himself.
Why do you think people try to discover their life’s purpose without turning to God, their creator?
Let’s think about some answers on this one:
- If I turned to God I might lose control of my life.
- God might take away all my fun.
- If there is a God, He’s definitely bigger than me and probably has some demands on my life.
- We always want to do things ourselves. Theme song: “I Did It My Way.”
- We want to be in control of our own destiny.
- We are afraid of God, we don’t know God, or we find God too mysterious.
- We think God’s idea of purpose is probably pretty religious and definitely boring.
- We like religion about as much as we like politics; we don’t want to get into a discussion about either one.
"That's a lot to soak in, isn't it?", I asked Pete. "Are you finding it something that can help you keep your priorities straight?" "Maybe", he shot back. "I know I've never encountered anything like this before, so it's different......exciting but scary", he said. "Yup, that makes sense. But keep reading and see where it takes you. I think you'll like what you read", I offered back.
PV2 Pete and I parted company shortly thereafter. Our next meeting would be early next week after a get together with his Care Core Director (Friday). I couldn't help but smile as I hopped into my truck. Some days are better than others.....and this had been one of those. It had some real purpose.