I’m reading this book called Epic where the author, John Eldredge, describes our lives as a story. We each are living an epic story, and our lives are only understood when told as a story. Humans love stories and we all want to tell our own. We are a story-seeking world. Here’s an excerpt of his book …
“Life, you’ll notice, is a story. It doesn’t come to us like a math problem. It comes to us the way that a story does, scene by scene. What will happen next? …
But here’s where we run into a problem. Life, for most of us, feels like a movie we’ve arrived to forty-five minutes late.
Something important seems to be going on…maybe. I mean, good things happen, sometimes beautiful things. You meet someone, fall in love. You find that work that is yours alone to fulfill. But tragic things happen too. You fall out of love, or perhaps the other person falls out of love with you. Work begins to feel like a punishment. Everything starts to feel like an endless routine.
If there is meaning to this life, then why do our days seem so random? What is this drama we’ve been dropped into the middle of? If there is a God, what sort of story is He telling here? At some point we begin to wonder if Macbeth wasn’t right after all: Is life a tale ‘told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’?
No wonder we keep losing heart.
We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, usually a confusing mixture of both, and we haven’t a clue how to make sense of it all. It’s like we’re holding in our hands some pages torn out of a book. These pages are the days of our lives. Fragments of a story. They seem important, or at least we long to know they are, but what does it all mean?
We need to know the rest of the story…”
One of the main reasons I’ve always believed in God, in a Creator, is because our hearts wrestle every single day with our meaning in this life. Deep down inside our core, nothing satisfies us. We are always searching for the meaning to our existence. I just can’t seem to settle on this world happening by accident. As C.S. Lewis once said it, and I’m paraphrasing here, if this world has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning… In other words, we wouldn’t know any different. We wouldn’t care to find the meaning to life because it would have never been put on our hearts to search for it.
I used to lie in bed when I was little, stare at the ceiling and literally whisper to myself, “Why do I exist?” … even before I realized my beliefs in God, I was wondering what it all meant.
I believe God made us aware enough to know there is something bigger going on, but unaware enough to understand it all. Why? Because He wants us to rely on Him. He is the ultimate answer.
Again, I’ll quote C.S. Lewis …
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
If this world is by accident, then why the heck are we here? Why are our souls always searching?
The author, Neil Postman, of Science and the Story That We Need, whom Eldredge quotes, puts it like this:
“In the end science does not provide the answers most of us require. Its story of our origins and our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory. To the question, ‘How did it all begin?’, science answers, ‘Probably by an accident.’ To the question, ‘How will it all end?’, science answers, ‘Probably by an accident.’ And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living.”
Science is intelligent, jaw-dropping, and sometimes down-right awesome. It opens our world to infinite possibilities. But it will never satify the aches inside us for the life well-lived.
“The accidental life is not worth living.” Yet here we are, getting out of bed every morning. Why? For another day of soul searching. Something inside us is reaching, fully aware there is something greater in our grasps. We have to go searching for it. We have to get out of bed…
Yes, but maybe you are feeling accidental. Maybe you’ve had enough. Maybe you’ve submitted to the notion that life really is meaningless and your life is not worth it. You’re not getting out of bed anymore. I’m not going to sit here and tell you you’re problems aren’t real, nor would I dare try to understand what you may be going through, downplaying your issues to force you “out of bed.” What you may be facing could be earth shattering. I don’t doubt you’re in bed for good reason…
What I will tell you is that you are part of a bigger story. What you do actually matters. It may not feel that way all the time, but every story has a beginning, middle and end. Maybe you’re somewhere in between, maybe you’re stuck on a word, maybe you’re simply scared to turn the page. I don’t know. But I’d rather turn the page, than close the book, never knowing what could have come next.
If God, an all-powerful, loving God, really created this world, that means He created us too … and that is reason enough to get out of bed. Because we’re here for a reason. We’re here to live a story worth telling.
John Eldredge says it best:
“For when we were born, we were born into the midst of a great story begun before the dawn of time. A story of adventure, of risk and loss, heroism … and betrayal. A story where good is warring against evil, danger lurks around every corner, and glorious deeds wait to be done. Think of all those stories you’ve ever loved – there’s a reason they stirred your heart. They’ve been trying to tell you about the true Epic ever since you were young.
There is a larger story. And you have a crucial role to play.”