Correct Diagnosis, Tragic Cure
Yesterday, the team here at Mile One Mission were listening to a short clip of a TED talk, and the topic of this talk was happiness. Essentially, it’s something everybody is searching for, yet few seem to ultimately attain. The central theme of this talk was that happiness is not the goal, which is why so few people are happy. What we actually need in life is meaning. And this meaning was broken up into four sub-groups: belonging, purpose, transcendence, and storytelling. What I found so tragic about this talk, however, was that it was so true and yet so false at the same time. The correct diagnosis with a faulty cure. So much of what was said is biblically true. We all need a sense of belonging in life, a connection to a fellow group of people that live for something higher than themselves. We need a sense of purpose, transcendence, and of belonging to a story, yet like most secular solutions, the answer was found in looking inward, digging deep, and trying harder.
We as Christians of course, know that our purpose is found in Christ. He is the transcendent one, whose story we are all a part of. Yet what I find ironic is that the secular world tries its hardest to repair the brokenness that only God can mend by searching for healing from within rather than from above. The woman who gave the talk claimed that she was the author of her own story; that her sense of ‘transcendence’ came from her hobby of writing. What is so devastating here is that there is nothing transcendent about writing, nor money, music, family, social activism, or politics. Millions of copies of self-help books get sold every year, successful careers are had, relaxing retirement vacations are enjoyed, and people pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and achieve the ‘American dream’. Goals are achieved, and still ours is a culture of depression, suicide, anxiety, stress, emptiness, brokenness, and trauma.
Could it be that all the fulfillment and joy that is promised by these finite things is nothing more than a lie from hell itself? Could it be that within every human heart there exists a divine void of which all the things in this world, both good and bad, fail miserably at filling? The diagnosis is correct: we are lonely, exhausted, restless, and burdened. But the solutions are tragically flawed: ‘just be true to yourself,’ ‘try harder next time’, ‘live your best life now,’ ‘speak your dreams into reality.’
The real answer? Find your identity in Christ; where there is true meaning, real belonging, and purpose. We are rooted in the transcendent one, who is infinite in grace, love and forgiveness. His mercies are new every morning. True fulfillment is found in Him alone. The satisfaction and joy that comes from knowing Christ is a flame which can never be extinguished, His Spirit remains with us always. So be encouraged. Don’t find your value in that which can never last, find it in the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the thrice Holy Lord God, Creator of the Universe. There will your soul find peace, just as it says in Psalm 62.
I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken.