Red Mtn summit, LeConte Divide, CA
September 3, 2021
We live in a world where it seems as if everything is temporary and nothing lasts forever. Here, all efforts eventually prove to be futile, accomplishments fade away, fame is both fleeting and fickle, and pleasures are momentary and in need of being renewed again and again. What do we even gain by living life here on earth anyway? As we age, we can more and more clearly see that the only destiny that our lifelong efforts are leading to is, gasp–death! And not only that, but all of our possessions will go to others who take our place in life, and all our accomplishments are destined to be eclipsed and smothered over by others producing new and better ones. After enough time passes, virtually no one even thinks about us or remembers that we were ever alive. All of this might lead you to wonder, “Is anything lasting ever accomplished on earth?” And if it isn’t, then why work so hard for absolutely nothing, except, of course, to end up in a graveyard somewhere and eventually be forgotten. It all sounds rather bleak and depressing to me.
This kind of personal assessment of life can lead one to give up trying to accomplish things in life that never last and, instead, try to eke out as much pleasure from life as it will grudgingly give us while we are here. This is the route that many people in America today are pursuing, but who are ultimately finding out that such an embrace and acceptance of meaninglessness leads to depression, fear and hopelessness. It’s hard to be truly happy living with such a mindset. No wonder suicide is presently a leading cause of death in the United States. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) gives us these startling statistics for 2019:
–Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 47,500 people
–Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 44
–There were nearly two and a half times as many suicides (47,511) in the United States as there were homicides (19,141)
Is there anything powerful enough on earth to rescue us from this plague of futility and hopelessness? Yes, and it is called “Truth”. It is not found in our vast universe somewhere, nor in any scientific discoveries, nor in any of the physical elements, nor in any of the myriad of lifeforms which inhabit the earth or have ever inhabited the earth. These are all subject to destruction and death, as science will eagerly explain to you. Everything is recycled, nothing lasts.
Only Truth has the power to take us beyond this world to an unseen one which is full of hope. This unseen world never ends, and is full of peace, love and companionship in a bliss filled existence. Just taking the time to examine earthly life with its order, its physical laws, its purposefulness, its beauty and its vastness, gives us a glimpse of the nature of its Creator–God himself! It is easy to see that the earth didn’t just happen on its own, nor did we humans randomly appear because of a lucky combination of chance cosmic conditions, as some say. No, humans are completely unlike and distinct from the ordered but mindless physical processes which flawlessly follow every physical law that we see governing the behavior of matter. No part of matter has any awareness of what is happening, and no choices as it goes about obeying all of the laws of physics. It is only in that which is living do we see such awareness and power of choice, especially in every human being. But, even in the saucy behaviors of lowly squirrels, or in our need to discipline and train pets such as dogs and cats, do we see that living creatures are free of the absolute slavery of matter to the laws that govern it. Matter must obey all physical laws, that is why science is such a dependable servant for us, and so reliable if we diligently take the time to learn about and properly use the laws that dictate matter’s behavior. Conversely, all life forms that we can study on earth point to the existence of another plane, another whole world besides the physical. It is from that plane that we learn that life on earth is not really futile and pointless at all, as it might seem at first. Scripture clearly teaches us this truth:
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against the irreligious and perverse spirit of men who, in this perversity of theirs, hinder the truth. In fact, whatever can be known about God is clear to them; he himself made it so. Since the creation of the world, invisible realities, God’s eternal power and divinity, have become visible, recognized through the things he has made. Therefore, these men are inexcusable. They certainly had knowledge of God, yet they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks; they stultified themselves through speculation to no purpose, and their senseless hearts were darkened. They claimed to be wise, but turned into fools instead; they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images representing mortal man, birds, beasts, and snakes.” Romans 1, 18-23
As many today casually toss out the faith in God that was taught to them, or even deny his existence, we in America are also inexcusable, as we ban God from our schools and increasingly turn to evil pleasures and the love of things which we know will never last. Yet, many revel in these futile efforts and teach others to do the same. In doing so we are inviting death to ourselves, for that is the only destiny which clinging to the world as our god will ever bring to us. Here is where the power of Truth and its very nature comes into play. The Truth bows down to no man on earth because it constitutes reality, and reality will never change simply because people declare that it is not real. They may not like it or want it, but declaring that it doesn’t exist has no effect on its existence. The truth is that God created this world to test men by giving them a clear choice to embrace good or embrace evil. That is plain for all to see, and no one can reasonably deny it. We can choose to follow either self or to follow God. Scripture points out the destiny of those who willingly choose sin and self as their masters on earth:
“Do you not know that God’s kindness is an invitation to you to repent? In spite of this, your hard and impenitent heart is storing up retribution for that day of wrath when the just judgment of God will be revealed, when he will repay every man for what he has done: eternal life to those who strive for glory, honor, and immortality by patiently doing right; wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness.” Romans 2, 4-8
Life on earth may appear futile and meaningless until we begin to humble ourselves and acknowledge the God who conceived it in thought and then spoke it into existence. It is only when men finally realize that they are children of God and actually his offspring, do they realize that they are not of this earth, nor created by it. Of all the living creatures here, only humans are given awareness, freedom, and the power to dominate and subdue the earth, and have authority and power over all the animals. And all men have also been given authority over themselves, and they can use that authority to reject God, reject his authority over them, and reject repentance for their sins. What they cannot reject, however, are the eternal consequences for those rejections that I just mentioned. Those consequences are part of the Truth or reality that they must eventually face, and that truth does not bow down to any man who declares that those consequences don’t exist.
But know that God has made mankind for a far better destiny, one which includes eternal bliss and happiness in heaven forever. Jesus Christ came to earth to save sinners and make a way for forgiveness by placing their faith in him, turning away from their sins, and asking for mercy. Read and heed his following assurances and give to yourself his gift of eternal life:
“I solemnly assure you, the man who hears my word and has faith in him (the Father) who sent me possesses eternal life. He does not come under condemnation, but has passed from death to life.” John 5, 24
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and faith in me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; otherwise, how could I have told you that I was going to prepare a place for you? I am indeed going to prepare a place for you, and then I shall come back to take you with me, that where I am you also may be.” John 14, 1-3
“Jesus told him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me,” John 14, 6
“Prayer of this kind is good, and God our savior is pleased with it, for he wants all men to be saved and come to know the truth. And the truth is this: ‘God is one. One also is the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.’ ” 1 Timothy 2, 3-6
Yes, our eternal destiny lies in our own hands–use that God given power wisely!