Shortly after I was born my parents separated and I lived with my mother who soon remarried. I have only fond memories of my biological father and step father as I look back, but deep in my heart I was always searching for acceptance. This would play a significant role in how I engaged with the world.
Our family moved around frequently and I felt a sense of being adrift in a vast ocean unsure where to anchor this desire for acceptance. By the time I graduated I had attended eleven different schools. I quickly became familiar with all sorts of techniques to make friends. The most successful, and consequently the most destructive, way to make friends was to find the popular crowd and make their enemies my enemies. By employing ridicule towards them I found common ground with the popular group and it was just a matter of time before they accepted me as one of their own. I didn’t realize at the time how cowardice and shameful my actions were, something I regret to this day. It left me empty and broken because before long those “friends” were gone, and I became the object of ridicule.
Ironically, my desire for acceptance was isolating me from people altogether. I needed to be made new from the inside-out because surely relationships are significant and meaningful. It was at this time in my life that God began to work in the core of my being. A benevolent creator is a solid anchor for meaning and acceptance.
Today I find significant satisfaction in the relationships with my supportive wife and three children. Being a husband and a father have become very much a part of my identity. Keeping God at the center of our family allows for a reference point, a solid rock from which one can safely build.
The pursuit for significance is all around us, consider this “GoPro” generation living on the edge, pushing the limits in High Definition. The dream of capturing that moment, the very moment that makes your life feel meaningful is extremely alluring. The prospect of reliving the thrill and bringing friends and family along for the ride too clearly shows how seriously we take our pursuit for meaning in this lifetime. Billions of people with a similar longing for meaning, is there a natural explanation for it?
As I look around and consider the conflicting messages that are bombarding me from different walks of life, how do I categorize it all? Consider the words of Richard Dawkins an Evolutionary Biologist and outspoken atheist, “there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” Dawkins claims that these desires are simply illusory- they don’t exist. Now compare that to, say, A.W. Towzer who states “Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act. All he does is good and acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For such a man, living itself will be sacramental and the whole world a sanctuary.” These two have a stark contrast in their understanding of reality. They might both be false but they cannot both be true according to the law of non-contradiction. As I reflect, I find the words of Towzer to capture the essence of the meaning of life, relationship with a sacred God makes every other aspect of your life sacred. There is value and significance in loving God and loving mankind.