“The greatest quest in life has always been the search for peace.” – Richard Daly
“The pursuit of life is passion to seek the presence of God.” – Lailah Gifty Akita
“Seek peace and pursue it.” – Psalm 34:14 NIV
“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].” – Isaiah 26:3 Amplified Bible
“Suffering is given to you that you might open your eyes to the truth.” – Anthony De Mello
What is it about life that causes us to easily lose our perspective? Is it the fallen nature of it or is it related to our human condition? If our lives are a gift, why does such a priceless treasure often become a worthless, seemingly senseless exercise in futility? Even King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, saw it to be nothing more than vanity.
“And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid upon the sons of men to occupy them! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun, and have found them all to be futile, a pursuit of the wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened, and what is lacking cannot be counted.…” – Ecclesiastes 1: 13-15 BSB
Yet so many of us cling to our lives as if they are all we will ever have! We do anything and everything to be happy and pursue our desires. We bask in the good times and curse the ones that bring misfortune. By doing so, we vainly pursue what is meaningless – losing our perspective on why we have been given such a priceless gift and unconsciously evading the underlying, deeper purposes that lie at the center of our existence.
For those of us experiencing the blessings and excesses of life right now, it becomes so easy to get lost in all the pleasure. But often that pleasure over time has an emptiness associated with it. We have all seen people who seem to have everything they could possibly desire who feel void and aimless.
If there is more to life than riches and blessings, funny how such overflow can be a curse – distracting us from the true purposes behind life itself. Even Christ said the probability of a full-grown camel being able to pass through the eye of a needle is an easier task than a rich person entering the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:24).
Does God have something against those richly blessed amongst us? Of course not, because He is the creator of all wealth (1 Chronicles 29:12 and Deuteronomy 8:18).
But abundance causes us to lose perspective and has the power to distract us from the real meaning behind this life. Think about Christ’s analogy of the camel and the needle for a second. Think of how impossible it is for those among us so richly blessed to experience God’s kingdom. It truly is a chasing of the wind as Solomon mentions above.
Now what about those of us who lack in this world – those who seem to suffer at every turn? The joys of life are absent from the sickness, the loneliness, and the struggles. How can life be fulfilling as we encounter the death of those we love or the loss of a relationship that means everything to us? How can there be any value in the disability or the accident that changed us? How can we fulfill what seems like our life’s calling when we have no resources or means to accomplish those dreams?
But funny thing…. likened to the curse of blessings…is the gift that comes from suffering. As Anthony De Mello states above, it has a way of opening our eyes to truth.
What truth can be seen in suffering? Unlike blessings, it has a way of revealing the deeper purpose of life – a realization that there must be more to it than meets the eye. Suffering pushes us toward an encounter with God and blessings toward self-sufficiency. So, in essence, suffering places us closer to life’s meaning than a life filled with constant abundance.
Such a weird coincidence that life is FILLED with suffering 😊
Still yet, both blessings and hardships cause us to lose our perspective on life’s deeper meaning and its intended design. We lose ourselves in the abundance or lose ourselves in the despair. What can we do to remedy this? How can we find peace in either set of circumstances?
It all comes down to a daily pursuit of God – where peace can be experienced in His presence.
In the midst of great blessings, this daily pursuit reminds us of their Source, humbles us with gratitude as we receive them, and gives us wisdom to utilize them as God intends – not for personal gain and prestige but for service and benevolence. When pursuit of God takes precedence over pursuit of blessings, then the camel can indeed make it through the eye of the needle, for nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19: 24-26). No blessings can bring the kind of peace that comes from being in His presence. The emptiness and futility that often accompany those blessings as we discussed earlier fade and diminish as we see His purposes at work within them.
In the midst of great suffering, this daily pursuit reminds us that our trials are only temporary (2 Corinthians 4:17) and are often a greater blessing than riches and wealth (Job 23:10).
As we pursue God in hardship, we understand that death isn’t permanent, that our healing comes from Him, and that He is in sovereign control of all the events of life – especially those that seem uncertain and unclear.
Solomon came to a similar conclusion:
“That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13
This passionate pursuit of God is the purpose of life as Lailah Gifty Akita states above! We reverence and honor God (“fear”) as we seek Him in the blessings and in the moments of suffering.
This my friend is the purpose of life – this daily pursuit – not the striving behind attaining more blessings or the striving to get rid of all the suffering. In His presence is wisdom, strength, meaning, and joy 😊
May you seek the Lord in all you do and in everything you encounter.