Although we sometimes pretend that our faith absolves us from having to ask the difficult questions in life, Christians are not exempt from feelings of meaninglessness or frustration. From the social butterfly with a home full of family to the single bachelor discovering that one is indeed the loneliest number, everyone has dealt with despair and aimlessness. You may have found yourself sitting up in bed one night, asking, “what is the point of all this?”

We may think that Christians – who have been saved from death and hell (Colossians 1:27) – shouldn’t feel this way. While it’s true that one day Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4), we are not immune from the pressures and pains of life in the meantime, and the Bible never falsely promises us that there will be no suffering in this world. And for some, what may be even worse is a lack of purpose or meaning while we’re here, even if we know in our minds what awaits us in eternity.

Since everyone’s life is a story, we can feel meaningless when we fail to connect our current status and our past to a journey or a narrative. For Christians, it’s key to remember two things: first, we do have a mission right now – to fulfill the Great Commission and usher in God’s Kingdom on earth – and second, we’re still in the middle of the incomplete story of history. The Messiah is still returning, and the unfathomable events of Revelation have yet to play out. As Christians, we live a life that is inherently meaningful, but that doesn’t mean we as individuals will always be able to decipher that meaning or grasp onto it as reality. It’s easy to lose sight of the larger picture when our lives are inundated with problems and struggles that might seem trivial in comparison. Indeed, many contemporary Christians feel a disconnect between our directives in Scripture and our mundane day-to-day lives. You’re not alone in that. This life is broken, not functioning as God originally intended. Just like the world, we have become marred by the effects of sin and death. We are not what we were meant to be, and we know that in our spirit.

If you do feel like you as an individual can’t find meaning, try thinking in smaller increments. Find what you can care about and work from there. We all have a responsibility to get up every day and care for what we love, at the very least – even if you are in a situation where you can’t work, this means you can try to take care of yourself, your space, or your pets. If you can work, this means you can provide a living for yourself or even your family. From there, think about your coworkers or your organization and what you can bring to the team, or what they rely on you for. Then focus on doing that to the best of your ability! Then, of course, if you can grasp all of that, think about your community! What can you do to help your neighbors? Those who are struggling around you? What can you clean up or improve in some way in your town? Genesis 1 makes clear that humans are created with a symbiotic, hand-in-hand relationship with creation. We are stewards of the earth. Even in the New Covenant, it is made clear that those unwilling to work, will not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Life has meaning in that we derive joy from working, eating, celebrating, and loving. We have meaning when we care for family and for our friends and neighbors.

And, of course, you should always remember your mission as a believer – to reach the world. We are to be a light to the nations and spread the Gospel until Christ’s imminent return (Matthew 28). Believers may be feeling aimless for this reason: we are not bearing the fruit that we have the potential to bear. You may feel like your life isn’t serving a purpose because you have been consistently ignoring to the Holy Spirit’s call to action. Life often feels discouraging when we tie the hands of the great Comforter. God will not affirm us in our disobedience and lack of action.

Think of Elijah who fled from the chariots of Jezebel in 1 Kings 19. He was discouraged and even desired death – this great man of God, one of the most powerful and righteous figures in all of Scripture! Just as God encouraged Elijah by telling him that he was not alone, you can take courage in the fact that you are not alone. Find your brothers and sisters in Christ and have them pray for you. Though we have trouble in this life (John 16:33), you are “more than a conqueror” in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37)!

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