Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsThursday 4 Jun 2020Morning Devotions with Chris Witts
In 1969 Peggy Lee sang a song called “Is that all there is?”—it was a big hit back then. It’s a big question, asked by so many over the centuries. What is the meaning of life? People ask themselves: Why am I here? What’s life all about? What’s the purpose of my existence? The lyrics of the song went like this:
Is that all there is?
Is that all there is?
If that is all there is, my friends
Then let’s keep dancing
Let’s bring out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is
I think the song is asking whether there is any meaning to life, or whether life has to have meaning.
Some Profound Questions
We all experience pain at some point in our lives—maybe a broken relationship, death of a friend, or the feeling of being betrayed. And those are the times we tend to look deeper into our own life and ask really big questions, to ask ourselves really profound questions that we normally wouldn’t ask, because we’re too busy making a living. Or some say, What am I supposed to be doing with my life? This is especially difficult for those of us who are getting on in years, and look back with a sense of sadness at many lost opportunities.
I think the truth is that at some stage in our lives, we have worries and concerns about ourselves, about what life is really for:
- What have I got to offer to the world and to my friends and family?
- Does what I say or think really matter to anyone?
We need to have a sense of purpose—that is the real issue. Human beings need to be needed, to feel a sense of belonging, to grow and learn and experience the goodness of life in all its variety. In Lewis Carroll’s famous 19th-century children’s book Alice through the looking glass, the final chapter has a statement and poem which starts, “Life, what is it but a dream?” Our ancestors felt compelled to worship the sun, the moon and other heavenly bodies—they offered sacrifices and prayed to them. They needed something bigger than themselves.
A Search For Meaning
I think many of us are on a search in this life—a search for meaning and fulfilment. How do we deal with those empty spots in our lives? How do we deal with failing and faulty finances, bankrupt relationships, broken homes and hopes?
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“We fill ourselves with spiritual substitutes and then we wonder why our souls cry out.” J. P. Moreland, Kingdom Triangle
In his book Kingdom Triangle, J. P. Moreland says this:
The current addiction to the cult of celebrity and professional sports, along with our preoccupation with happiness, tells us something about our true nature and the bankruptcy of our culture.
There is no debating the reality that people are hungry today. No one knows that better than those who are selling things that cannot fill your heart. Whether they are selling beauty, sex, dreams, talent, sports, or success—they are capitalizing on a reality that people today are starving. And there is no question in my mind that the very things provided to fill this hunger fail miserably.
People are like a hummingbird feeding at a feeder that is filled with artificial sweetener. They think they will get nutrients. But as they gorge themselves on emptiness, they starve themselves to death. That’s exactly what is happening to human beings, spiritually and emotionally speaking. We fill ourselves with spiritual substitutes and then we wonder why our souls cry out.
(To be continued in Is This All There Is? – Part 2)