Recently, I’ve been applying to graduate schools. And, as I fulfilled a requirement of submitting a statement of purpose, I considered and reconsidered the purpose of my life. Of course, an application statement of purpose briefly explains your research experience and interests, but I began to reflect – what is my life’s statement of purpose? Do I actually want to go to graduate school? Am I going to be a student forever? What do I want my life to be for? And, while the questions became increasingly existential, I was reminded of my experience as a freshman. I arrived at U of I without knowing anyone (I’m from out of state) with various goals and dreams wondering what my life was all about. Maybe you are looking for a life goal, a purpose, like I was.
Even today, in my consideration of next steps, goals, and plans, I was reminded of a verse in Ecclesiastes, a portion of which says, “He has put eternity in their heart, yet so man does not find out what God has done from beginning to end”(Recovery Version, 3:11). All men, including you and me, have, according to the Amplified translation “eternity, [a sense of divine purpose],” implanted in our human heart, “a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God.” As I wrote my statement of purpose, checking my goals again and again, the divine sense of purpose and mysterious longing stirred within my heart. What will I accomplish at the end of my life? Will any of my work be eternal?
But even more, I considered the last section of this verse, “yet so man does not find out what God has done from beginning to end.” Have you considered what God is doing? The Preacher, King Solomon, gave his ecclesiastical address after years of enjoying the most bountiful riches and outward blessings of God. Here is, in my opinion, a most unsatisfactory conclusion: everything under the sun is vanity and old (Eccl. 1:2, 9). Surely such a wise king such as Solomon had seen and known everything of his time, and yet, he still decided everything was vanity. Why? Because he did not – and could not – know the only thing that would fulfill that divinely implanted sense of purpose – God. But what about us? Is everything we chase after vanity of vanities?
Without Christ, yes. But fortunately for you and me, we don’t live in the time of king Solomon. Actually, God came Himself to fulfill the eternity in our hearts – and to make known to us what He has done from beginning to the end. Nearly two thousand years ago, God came as a man, named Jesus Christ. He lived for thirty three and a half years, died on the cross, and resurrected. In resurrection, He became the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) and now can enter into the believers – into you and me – to fulfill that divinely implanted sense of eternity (1 John 1:1-3). Not only that, but now, God, as the Spirit of reality is leading us into all the reality (John 14:17; 16:13). One of the things He is teaching us is to know God’s will, that is, what God has been doing from beginning to the end. The New Testament says that God made “known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself”(Eph. 1:9).
King Solomon – and other spiritual men from Adam to Job to the prophets – desired to know this mystery. Maybe before reading this, you too wanted to know why God made the universe or what your human life is all about. God has made known to us His will and it’s revealed in the Bible! My need, and dare I say, all Christians’ need, today is not just to know it doctrinally, but to have a revelation. Paul, a couple paragraphs after making the statement in Ephesians 1:9 says that “by revelation the mystery was made known to me”(3:3). We, too, need to have such a revelation and can pray,
“Lord, grant me a spirit of wisdom and revelation and enlighten the eyes of my heart that I may see your will, the economy of the mystery.”
When we pray like this, the Lord has the way in us to reveal to us not merely God’s will for us, but something that gives our life meaning and purpose – God’s will for God. May God have mercy on us!
By JR Kan