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The Two Most Important Questions in Life

cross heavenThere are two questions most people avoid. The questions are: “Why am I here?” and “Where am I going?”  They are such penetrating questions that vast numbers of people spend their lives going to great lengths to avoid them.Questions call for answers and these two questions pierce to the core of who and what a person is (or is not). They will expose a person’s spiritual state and their humanity (or lack of it). The questions can be unpleasant, threatening and make a person feel uncomfortable. They can spark internal crisis.

Most people would rather busy themselves with frenzied activity of work, rushing here and there, or trying to satisfy the insatiable demands of commerce. They would rather fill their cars with ear-piercing music than be surrounded by the threat of quietude. They prefer a nightclub of raunchy strangers to a room of blessed solitude. They will occupy themselves with inordinate obsessions of hobbies, or even walk over a bed of hot coals, rather than answer those two fundamental human questions. Anything is preferable to introspection and the possibility of confronting those two questions. But not facing, not contemplating, not answering those questions is so much more costly for people’s spirits and souls than seeking an answer.

Henry David Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” He also said, “If misery loves company, misery has company enough.” He was right. What could more miserable and desperate for a person than not knowing why they exist or where they are going?

Contemplating why you are here and where you are going will either rekindle joy or break your heart. But avoiding the questions is much more costly — you will die with the song God gave you still unsung.

The natural conclusion for an atheist is that there is no purpose or destiny to life.  The universe is as silent as his grave, or so he thinks. The evolutionist believes us we are nothing more than ancestors of primordial slime, and to conclude we have any more value than that has no basis. After all, according to evolution, everything is the result of random chance. Thought itself is ultimately meaningless — merely the product of electrical or chemical impulses and reactions. Concepts like right and wrong, fairness or justice are meaningless in a world of chance. The logical conclusion for an atheist and evolutionist must be that humanity has no more value than a leaf, a stone or the slug found under it.

Yet something deep within us rails against the idea of meaninglessness. We want to believe our lives have meaning and purpose. We instinctively believe our lives have value and we are not the products of random chance.

Within of us rests a longing for something (yet unattained) beyond ourselves, a feeling we have been deprived of something that should rightfully be ours. It is as if we are royalty in exile, and we are. (C.S. Lewis dealt with this in detail in his essay, The Weight of Glory.)

The Bible tells us that we are made in the image and likeness of the King of all creation: God. (Genesis 1.26-27.)

What is heart breaking is that when a person seriously contemplates those two questions — Why am I here? And “Where am I going? — they will probably discover that while he/she have a royal and divine lineage, they do not behave like royalty. They are alienated from the King. They are in rebellion against His royal Kingdom.

They can not realize their royal potential because it lies beyond them. It can not be reached without being reconciled to the King, through His Son, the Prince of Peace.

Deep within you and me is a spirit which is most responsive to love and withers without it (we all know this).  The human spirit comes from God. That is why the human spirit is made for love.  That entity we call our spirit has a nagging desire and hunger for something we can not identify or satisfy without confronting those two questions head-on.

We were created by God for His purposes. The answers to those two critically important question lie beyond us, but we have been told we will find the answers if we dare search for them with all our hearts. God gave a message to Jeremiah about other exiles:

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you.When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart,you will find me with you, says the LORD, and I will change your lot; ….” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Dare to believe that message from God is for us too.

Through his Son Jesus Christ, God will shower His love and grace upon us like rain. Our spirits will be revived and renewed like dry and parched land after a rain storm.

Why are you and I here? I suspect that you may discover that the reason you are here is to love the King and take that love to others who bear the King’s royal image and likeness. That is the answer I found.

Where are we going? The King wants his royal subjects to occupy his Kingdom (heaven). He sent his Son, Jesus, to retrieve us all, through repentance, faith and love.  He wants to lead us back to the Kingdom to rule with Him forever.  All we have to do is follow Him.


Mark Davis Pickup is chronically ill and disabled with degenerative multiple sclerosis. He is an advocate for life issues and disability inclusion across North America. He and his wife, LaRee, have been married for 38 years. They live in Alberta Canada with their two adult children and five grandchildren. Mark is available to address issues of euthanasia, assisted suicide, and issues revolving around suffering that often fuel calls for euthanasia. He writes regularly at http://markpickup.org and http://humanlifematters.org. For bookings, contact him by e-mail at MPickup@shaw.ca or telephone (780) 929-9230. Mark Pickup's bi-weekly column can be read in the Western Catholic Reporter (Canada) at http://www.wcr.ab.ca/.


  • RachanaC

    Thank you so much for this post. It was beautiful! One of the most powerful lines, I thought, was this one: “Contemplating why you are here and where you are going will either rekindle joy or break your heart.”

    Yes, that is a very true. I have seen that in my own life. Sometimes both things happen at the same time. Sometimes it is only when the heart breaks that the Lord is able to come in and fill it with Himself. And then there is such a great joy, a great peace as He makes our hearts his home. Love comes in. And, well, the rest we shall see…

    God bless you!