“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Exodus 9:16
“What does this mean?” We have always asked this question in some shape or form throughout our lives: as a toddler pointing to a word in a picture book, as a teenager coming across new SAT vocabulary, or even as an adult Luddite dealing with a pop-up message on a new gadget. More existentially, we grapple with the meaning of life, or we try to make sense of a loss—“Why did this have to happen?” In psychology, the process by which we understand, interpret and make sense of life events, relationships, and ourselves, is called “meaning-making.”
As Christians, we can rest in the knowledge that while we may not always know the meaning, we can know God, the ultimate meaning-maker. His being is the root of all meaning, and his relationship with us gives our lives overarching meaning.
As I sat across a sister who was trying to work through repressed anger and depressed thoughts, a struggle that I had known intimately, it also cast new meaning over my previous battle. I could comfort her with the comfort that God had shown me, and the experience brought a new layer of restoration into my heart.
We are interpreters of our own lives, and how we choose to deal with the loss, confusion, and hurt depends on how much we decide to trust God with our being. We may not know the meaning in this lifetime but peace comes when we are all right with not knowing. We can say, “God, I don’t know why that had to happen. But I trust you because your ways are higher than my ways, your thoughts higher than my thoughts.” We can stop our relentless, exhausting search for meaning, which in itself can become an idol, and press on to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. In the process, we may find what we had really been looking for.
Let us answer "What Does It Mean?" by:
- Praising God for creating us for His purpose.
- Asking God to help us meditate on His Kingdom and His righteousness, and put into action what He has put in our hearts.