Twelve years ago, I found myself looking in the mirror wondering what had become of my life. No matter how many “good things” I did, my life felt empty, maybe a better word is “meaningless.” Have you ever felt that way? Like, your life has no meaning and you’re simply going through the motions? I went to church. I went to work. I tried to be a good husband and father, but it didn’t seem to give my life meaning.
This same sentiment shows up in the Old Testament writings of Ecclesiastes. The teacher uses the word “meaningless” in describing the human experience 38 times in 12 chapters. Sounds depressing, right? I actually think these words offer us hope.
The word “meaningless,” in Hebrew, is hebel. In its purest form, hebel, simply means “vapor.” No matter our feeble attempts to control life, we can’t seem to grasp it. It slips through our fingers, leaving us frustrated, confused and exhausted.
So, what do we do? Do we stop trying? Do we give up because it’s all hebel? No. We turn to the creator, God himself, and we simply that ask He take control of our vapor-filled lives. That our motivations in relationships, careers, and life goals would be driven by our desire to see God move.
In fact, we know something the writer of Ecclesiastes didn’t know, something that wouldn’t happen for another 300-400 years. Jesus came and taught us what a life of meaning looked like. A life committed to loving God and loving others. He later died on the cross for our sins. So that our life could go, from something temporary and fleeting, to something eternal in the Kingdom of God.
So, what’s the next step? I think we first, acknowledge that we are not good at managing our own lives. Next, we call out to God, through prayer, and ask Him to help us see our lives the way He sees them. Then, we reach out to someone in our life who has surrendered to Jesus. If that is too difficult, reach out to a pastor.
I leave you the words of Jesus written down by one of his closest followers, a man named John:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 NIV
It is this truth that changed my life and I pray it will change yours.
The writer is the lead pastor at Connection Point Church of God, Sidney.