This blog focuses on the quest to know and please God in a constantly increasing way. The upward journey never ends. My prayer is that this blog will reflect a heart that seeks God and that it will encourage others who share the same heart desire.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

What's the Point?

At times life can be frustrating, discouraging, or even hopeless. When one sees no apparent reward for his effort, no apparent value in his existence, no apparent reason for his circumstances, no apparent connection with others, or no apparent stability in his situation, he can easily ask the question, "What's the point?" He loses determination, motivation, and interest.

A father tries to support his family but loses job after job through corporate changes. A single lady waits many years to be married, only to have her husband die after a short time. A couple's lengthy pursuit of children results only in miscarriages. Parents who have tried to carefully lead their children see one after another leave the church. A person in the prime of life faces persistent health problems that rob his best years. A widow lives on for decades with no one to support her. A single person endures a distasteful job so that he can come home every day to an empty house and a solitary life. Liberalism or false teaching creep into a ministry to which a faithful man had dedicated years of labor.

These problems are not exclusive to the modern day. After an unimaginable series of tragedies, Job faced a devastating health condition, while finding no comfort from his friends. Under these conditions, he did not want to keep living. "Why is light given to him who suffers, and life to the bitter of soul, who long for death, but there is none?" (Job 3:20-21). Job agonized, "What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should endure?" (Job 6:11).

Moses faithfully served God, having chosen "rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin" (Hebrews 11:25). His reward was repeated challenges, provocations, and threatenings. On one such occasion, Moses cried to God, "Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? . . . If You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once" (Numbers 11:11&15).

After three years in hiding, Elijah acted boldly at God's command, but victory dissolved into discouragement when Elijah's life was immediately threatened. Elijah went "into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and requested for himself that he might die, and said, 'It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life'" (I Kings 19:4).

Asaph's psalms reveal a sincere and sensitive heart for God. Faithful Asaph became discouraged when he observed the comfortable life of the wicked. He admitted, "But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped" (Psalm 73:2). In frustration he bemoaned, "Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence" (Psalm 73:13).

If anyone could have succumbed to the frustration of a life beset by problems and trials, it would be Joseph. He was hated by his brothers because of his father's choices, sold as a slave while obeying his father's command, falsely accused when he fled evil, wrongfully imprisoned, and forgotten by someone he had helped. Joseph spent decades separated from his family, living in a strange land in the service of others. Joseph was consistently faithful and innocent, but every time he started to see the blessing of God, a new tragedy would strike.

The Bible does not record any desperation or frustration from Joseph. Joseph did not cry out, "What's the point?" Joseph was different in the midst of trials, because he focused on God's truth. Joseph told his brothers, "Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life" (Genesis 45:5). He later stated, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20). Because Joseph focused on his role in God's service, he could continually face life with peace and assurance.

God also has truths for His children today. No matter how wrong or frustrating or worthless or pointless life may seem, there is always purpose in life. In the midst of setbacks, disappointments, reversals, and pain, God always has a plan for His children. Here are some applicable truths from God's Word that can provide purpose in any situation.

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship" (Romans 12:1).

"For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body" (I Corinthians 6:20).

"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31).

"According to my earnest expectation and hope, that . . . Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death" (Philippians 1:20).

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men" (Colossians 3:23).

"So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:7).

If one's goal in life is to experience health, comfort, stability, success, or respect, then life has great potential to seem pointless. If the most important thing is to enjoy life, spend time with family, be active socially, or prosper in ministry, there is ample opportunity for frustration to creep in. However, if one's goal is to please and honor God, based on a foundation of verses like those listed above, life cannot be pointless. There IS a point.

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