Our state is one of the states that struggle with the meaning of life. Issues of value and purpose are in short supply, and people see no reason to continue a meaningful life. This is not just a local problem but nationwide. It crosses racial barriers and grade point averages. People of position and people who have no position live with no meaning for their existence. In fact, many feel that the world be a better place if they did not exist. We have church groups, social groups and the national government studying this issue in an attempt to find an answer. Some person reading this today has faced the same issue.

What is behind all of this? I have dealt with people all of my life and have sat in my office listening to a person for whom life has lost all meaning. A teenage boy found the answer, but too late. He was found dead, hanging from a tree in a suburban neighborhood. Attached to his body was a note that said it all; “this is the only thing around here that has roots.”

Why is the subject of “roots” so significant in our culture today? Nationwide programs offer to help you find “roots.” Back in the ’70s a miniseries on Television swept the country called “Roots.” It traced an African man’s journey back to Africa in an attempt to find his “roots.” I had the opportunity to visit where Alex Haley found his roots in the Gambia on the west horn of Africa. We search for where we came from in an attempt to find who we are.

However, at the very time, we are searching for our roots, we are abandoning our roots. In recent decades there have been multitudes of people that have challenged every tradition in our culture. They march through our streets; they burn the very buildings that furnish our lives with abundance and create violence in their attempt to tear down what has been created. We have watched as troops armed with deadly force attempting to bring order to replace chaos.

I ask a question: “what have we built to replace what has been dismantled”? I’m not sure that I am wise enough to answer that question. Is the product that we now have better than that which has been destroyed? Are we in a better place, a safer place with principles and faith that help us find who we are and why we are here?

One of the characteristics of our culture today is that we have nothing to believe in. This is why the note was attached to the boy’s body hanging from the tree. “I have lost everything that brings meaning to my life.” When I find that no one really loves me, when I feel that my own life is in shambles, and all of my memories are negative, and I am like a cruise ship that has lost power and all navigation instruments are gone and just “adrift” in my life, where do I go to find help, to restore values and to learn that God loves me and has a purpose for my life?

I asked the first question, “what have we built to replace what we lost” and now I ask a second question; “are we a generation where faith has been replaced with experience”? We are the most experience-oriented, feeling seekers culture that has ever existed. We live for the “high” and the excitement that it brings. Could this be part of the reason for the addictions we face today, the music we listen to, and the lifestyle we live? We seek the next “high” that this new experience will give me. Because my own life is boring, I seek to find a new “me” through my imagination, the movies I watch, and the novels I read.

Have you ever read the story of the Prophet Elijah? The Story begins In 1 Kings 17. There is no space here to recount this prophet’s life. Part of it is boring. He sits by the brooks Cherith for a year, and then he travels 100 miles to spend two years with an unnamed widow in a seacoast town called Zarephath. But then the excitement begins. He has a face-to-face meeting with King Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel. In the process, he kills 400 hundred of Jezebel’s wicked prophets of Baal. Jezebel is now out to kill the lone Prophet that killed her 400 wicked prophets. Something snaps inside Elijah, and he runs. In fact, he runs about 150 miles to Mount Sinai where Moses received the 10 commandments. There, he sits in a cave, alone and out of contact. Then, three significant things happen. A strong wind sweeps the mountain; then an earthquake rumbles through that rock-hewn retreat, and then to top it off a firestorm sweeps over the mountain. Interestingly the text says, “but the Lord was not in the wind earthquake or fire.” I would suggest that the Prophet experienced some degree of emotion while all this was going on around him. However, God was not in the emotion that was created. To top it all off, after all of the excitement that had been experienced, the Prophet heard a still small voice. This was God. Yes, God had followed the Prophets all the way from Jezebels palace to the rocky summit of Sinai and Elijah wrapped himself in his mantle and listened to God speak.

Could it be that in all the excitement of the world and all it has to offer that we have lost the ear to hear the still small voice? In losing contact with this inner voice of God, we have lost our anchor, we have lost our hope and values, and life has become empty. We have sought to replace what we lost with a plastic product that has no eternal value.

Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have a hope, which has become an anchor for the soul, and it is both sure and steadfast…”. Is you anchor holding, solidly attached to the supreme God with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning?

Life does have value. We are created by God, made after His own image. Has life robbed this value and dignity from you? God is still there, and His Son Jesus Christ can restore what life has robbed us.

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