“You are not an accident. Even before the universe was created, God had you in mind, and he planned you for His purposes. These purposes will extend far beyond the years you will spend on earth.” Those thought provoking words are from Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life.
As Baby Boomers come closer to the end of our road, some are pondering our objective for being here. Although I once had a firm conviction about purpose, I am beginning to question my own thinking on that subject.
For years, I have been among those who believe that every individual was created by our maker for a specific purpose; and I suspect that our personal goals are secondary to the purpose for which we were born. I also wonder, are our personal goals commingled – unbeknownst to us – with our purpose for being here? And, if we do all have a purpose and the purpose of some people is to do basically good things – like strive for world peace or, on a smaller scale, improve a chaotic society – then what is the purpose of evil doers?
A few people of whom I have asked that question, spontaneously replied that evil exists to create balance in the world. But who needs that kind of balance when it would be so nice if we could all live in harmony? I delved a bit further on that question and came across the following hypothesis in Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, “God . . . does not control man’s choosing between good and evil . . . Man is free and laws of nature are fixed. [Therefore] divine intervention is ruled out.” Many people may easily accept that statement, but being a semi-skeptic on some issues, I am still contemplating it.
One thing that we know for sure is that each of us has a limited time on earth, a specific number of years, months, or in the case of some newborns, days or minutes. Wouldn’t it be nice to know – what purpose, if any – we were sent here to achieve within our allotted time? Why we are here is probably the $50 million question, and there is no price that can buy an answer. Warren Buffet can’t buy it, nor can Donald Trump, Bill Gates or Oprah.
Obviously, significant contributions to humankind have been made by numerous people who never achieved public recognition before their demise. We have no way of knowing who they all are. But we are aware of thousands of notables who left their mark in the world, before they went down for the count. Many of them were relatively young when they departed and some died violently. Dr. Charles Drew died at age 46, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 39; Princess Diana, 36; Mother Theresa, 87; Michael Jackson, 50; Steve Jobs, 56; and Dan Wheldon, 33. Did the accomplishments that they made, during their lifetime, while chasing their chosen dreams fulfill their earthly assignment?
And what about people who commit suicide? Does their act of free will leave their divine purpose unfilled?
I believe that we all have guides. I like to call them angels. Others may just call them forces to help us along the way. If that is the case, then does that mean that even as we pursue our personal goals there is a greater power steering us in the direction we must go to fulfill our ultimate purpose? One thing is irrefutable, we have limited control over our life, and unfortunately, the uncertainty of our journey is that we never know when we will turn that sharp curve on the bumpy road of life and arrive at the dead end. Owing to the complexity of life, some of us will see the warning sign up ahead and some of us won’t.