In his famous book Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr. Viktor Frankl wrote of his horrific experiences as a survivor of Nazi concentration camps. Frankl, a psychiatrist, approached his imprisonment with a scientist’s analytical mind. He observed that prisoners who had a clear goal or a cause greater than themselves were the ones most likely to carry on and survive, even in the midst of sadistic brutality and cruel deprivation. Those without such a purpose were likely to perish. Frankl concluded that as the philosopher Nietzsche observed, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”
Frankl, a very learned individual of the Jewish faith, came to understand something that the Bible makes very plain. God’s word also demonstrates this principle, preserving for our admonition the stories of people who succeeded and others who failed. We find that lasting success came to those who were motivated by their desire to love, obey, and serve God and to seek His Kingdom. Those who rejected God’s ways—seeking their own temporary selfish goals—ultimately failed.
What does that have to do with us today? We have jobs or careers, family responsibilities, school requirements, and financial difficulties, all of which have to be dealt with. Though there are blessings along the way, for most people there is also a gnawing emptiness inside. The question, “What is the purpose of it all?” comes to mind in quiet moments. Most of us eventually learn that “things” do not fill the void. Activities and pleasures provide only temporary gratification, after which the question still remains, “What happens after I die?” This unanswered question causes much angst and despair for millions of people. Hoping to answer this question, man has come up with a variety of religions and creeds based on different mythic gods and philosophic concepts. Yet, these man-made answers do not really satisfy. Even “mainstream Christianity” offers answers that the Bible does not actually support and that do not prove satisfactory.
So, are there any real answers? Yes, there are! There is a trustworthy source, which starts at the beginning and progresses all the way to the end of a great Plan being carried out by the Creator God of the Bible. Those who have understood this Plan—who have discovered the purpose for their existence, and who have learned God’s way of life, not based on man-made traditions—can face life with joy and contentment, even in times of difficulty. Why? Because, like Dr. Frankl, they have come to realize that we as human beings do have a transcendent goal, a great cause and a reason for being—not an invented or temporary one that may leave us disappointed when it fails, but an enduring one that allows us to handle even life’s most challenging trials with focus and purpose.
Jesus Christ offers these comforting words to those who are troubled: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). Those who accept Christ’s invitation, and who make the necessary changes in their lives to take on Christ’s “easy yoke,” will discover for themselves that the true Christian life equips them to handle the frustration and stress that plague our world today. As the Apostle Paul told the Christians in Philippi, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).
Are you searching for the meaning of life? Do you long to learn the purpose for which God created you? Read our inspiring and encouraging booklet, Your Ultimate Destiny, to discover what God has in store for those who serve Him. With God’s help, your search will be successful.