Meaning and Purpose
“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” –Victor Frankl
Victor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz, but saw beloved family members die in the death camps. In his classic memoir and meditation on his experience in Auschwitz, Man’s Search for Meaning, written in 1946, Frankl suggests that meaning and purpose, not success or happiness, are the driving pursuits of the human life. Frankl saw that when prisoners were able to find purpose, even in the midst of unimaginable suffering, horror and deprivation, they were able to hold on to life and hope. They were the prisoners who survived.
I have friends who learned in the second trimester of their third pregnancy that the baby had a chromosomal condition that would result in severe, life-threatening medical issues. As you might expect, there was anger, despair, grief. But there was also faith and trust. And that faith and trust enabled them to carry the pregnancy to full-term, to welcome the baby and care for and nurture and love her for the two weeks she lived on this earth. They knew that God promises to bring good out of even the worst of circumstances. And so they were able to find meaning and purpose even in the midst of their loss and grief, sharing their story and journey and walking with other families who struggle with pregnancy loss and pointing again and again to God’s presence and care and love and mercy.
I believe that has always been and always will be the role of the church of Jesus Christ. It’s a role that sometimes we’ve forgotten when we get caught up in society’s or culture’s ideas about success and/or happiness. We are to be the people and the place where we point again and again and again to the Cross, the chief example of God’s commitment to wrestle life and hope from the very place that seems most devoid of life and hope.
That’s good news for all of us!
I’m praying for you. I hope you’re praying for me.
Glory to God!
Pastor Mary Beth