The other day I was standing around watching cows eating grass. As you do. They seemed contented enough, munching away on the green stuff. What more could a herd of cows want? I mean, so far as we can tell, cows don’t bother their heads with questions like, ‘why do we exist?’ or ‘what’s the purpose of life?’ Never mind that malarkey. All cows seem to want is a meadow full of lush green grass to graze.
Human beings are different. We don’t simply live to eat. Hopefully. We seek a sense of meaning and purpose in life. Children are for ever asking their parents, ‘where are we going?’ and ‘why is this, that, and the other?’ Our curiosity about the world has driven philosophers to ponder the meaning of life and scientists to explore the wonders of nature.
Yet this quest for meaning and purpose can often seem frustrating. Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson sighed, “All my life I have sought something I cannot name.” Some people try and find meaning in life by seeking fame and fortune. Few find those things. Those who do are often left feeling empty and disappointed by what they have achieved. Witness the messed up lives of many pop stars.
Others throw themselves into education, work, their hobbies, or what have you. Such things are good in themselves, but they cannot give us what we seek. There is something about human beings that longs for something bigger than anything this world can offer.
The Christian thinker Augustine of Hippo put his finger on it. He prayed to God, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts and restless until they find rest in you.” Don’t spend all your life seeking something you cannot name. God has reached out to us through the One who came to give rest to our restless hearts. His name is Jesus.
* For a variery of local rags & mags: White Horse News, Trinity Parish Magazine, News & Views, Market Lavington & Easterton News.