What is the purpose of this temporary, finite, stressed out human life of ours?

To a Christian the purpose of this temporary life of ours is to be willing to go where we don’t want to go, because that’s what life was all about for Jesus. That’s how Paul phrased it in Philippians 2:5-11, that Jesus came as a human to do what God wanted and “God exalted him to the highest place” for doing so. And as Paul says in verse 5, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ,” and if it is then God will exalt us too.

We have our purpose clearly spelled out for us, therefore, as to why we’re alive in this temporary, finite, stressed out body of ours that one day dies. Simply put, it’s doing what God wants and he will exalt us. And that sounds great until you realize God also took Jesus in directions during his human lifetime that stretched him way beyond his comfort zone (Matthew 26:38, Hebrews 5:7).

But why did God do that to him? Because the test God put to us humans from the very beginning in the book of Genesis was: Would we go in the direction he wanted us to go?

If the answer was “Yes,” then God could proceed with the glorious and highly exalted purpose he had for humans as rulers and guardians of this planet.

If the answer was “No,” then that was the end of humans – unless and until a human existed who was willing to go in the direction God wanted, come what may.

And Jesus was the first to volunteer. He lived a life of going exactly in the direction God wanted, regardless of what happened to himself. As a result, God opened the door to anyone else willing to follow Jesus’ example, and to those who said, “Yes, I understand your purpose for this temporary existence of mine, and I’m going for it,” God promised he would provide all the help they needed to keep going, no matter how stressful life became, just as he provided that help for Jesus (Hebrews 5:7).

And as a Dad I understand how God must feel toward a child who is willing to go in directions he or she would rather not go. I believe there is nothing God is more proud of than a human who accepts that this is what this temporary, finite, stressed-out human life is for, and throws his lot in with God’s purpose, trusting God every step of the way to keep his head above water and keep on serving others as Jesus did, no matter how this life turns out, because he totally believes God will exalt him to a new, unending, thrilling life next.


In between birth and death what’s supposed to happen?

As I gazed down at my one day old granddaughter I wondered what life would have in store for her. Would life be tough for her, in which case what was the point of her being born at all? It made me wonder why we have children. Is it because this is simply what humans do, we have children, so why analyze it? But does that mean that humans have no purpose more meaningful than animals or insects, that exist merely to reproduce, play whatever part they’ve been programmed to play, and then fade into nothing? Is that life, just adjusting to whatever happens? Or with humans is something else supposed to happen between birth and death?

I was thinking about all this for the lecture I felt I ought to give to my son, now that he had a daughter. It got me thinking about why any of us are here on this planet, existing together, having families, training for careers, taking vacations, having hobbies, and getting sick. The years fly by with little time to actually think about what we’re supposed to be learning. But then I watched my son gazing down at his daughter, unable to take his eyes off her. He sat there in enraptured silence, oblivious to the hubbub of doctors and visitors.

And I knew then what my lecture would be about. It would be, “Love your daughter like you love her now, because that’s what we’re here for as humans, to experience the staggering power of love.” And now it would be his turn to demonstrate the staggering power of love to his daughter, as he loved her for the rest of their life together, no matter what she did, or how she turned out, or how many dreams she shattered.

Love her as you love her now, because if she’s adorable as a helpless, utterly dependent, completely self-centred food and poop machine why should that change when she grows into a flourishing, fiercely independent, totally unique being with personality, wild ideas, cheeky humour, sparkly eyes, and a growing awareness of how much she’s valued and loved causing her to want to love and value others in return? And will she then want children for that reason too, to repeat in the life of someone she herself has created what she learnt from her Dad who loved her for nothing else than being her?

And what would be the purpose of all this love? To get a glimpse of the love that awaits us all when we meet God for the first time, who loved us for nothing else than us being us too.