Venerable archbishop Fulton Sheen liked to say that there are two ways to start the day: One is to say, “Good morning, God.” The other is to say, “Good God, morning!” To some, every day is a gift. To others, it is a rude awakening.
In his book Life Is Worth Living, Sheen says that the anxiety and listlessness that makes life a drudgery is often rooted in an ignorance – and sometimes even an avoidance – of the purpose and meaning of life.
The Ultimate Question
Many people don’t have meaning and they don’t want meaning because they’re afraid to face a fundamental question: “Why is life worth living?” They’re afraid there is no answer.
Why do you think life is worth living? Before you continue reading, spend a few minutes in prayer coming up with an answer. Every Christian needs an answer. What’s yours?
Recently, I decided to share this question on Facebook. I received a wide variety of responses.
Some posted photos of their friends and family – loved ones make life worth living. Others suggested the potential to grow or the promise of change – hope of a better life makes life worth living. Some, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, shared the things they enjoy. Hockey, pizza, cats, coffee, tacos – the pleasures of the world make life worth living. One friend said that participation in family, culture, and society makes life worth living.
The Ultimate Answer
In a sense, all of these reasons are true. They certainly bring excitement and happiness to life. Some reasons, such as family and friends, help us focus on “the other,” which frees us from the never-ending desire to please ourselves. There is a liberation there that brings new purpose to life and makes life worth living.
But, what if we took all of that away? What if we took away friends, family, and grandkids? What if we took away participation in society? What if we took away sports, food, and cute little kittens? Would life be worth living then?
This is more than just a hypothetical scenario. The loss of everything actually happens to people. It happens to drug addicts, strung out and living on the street. It happens to migrant children separated from their parents. It happens to innocent people languishing on death row. It happened to Job.
Some people are almost entirely deprived of beautiful things, loving people, and endless possibility. This is why, in the final analysis, the reasons I’ve listed so far are good, but not good enough. We must have a better reason for why life is worth living.
I think that reason is Heaven.
The Ultimate Ending
Heaven is the reason for life and the reason for your existence. Heaven is the reason for everything! God loves you and desperately desires a perfect relationship with you. That’s what Heaven is.
Of course, the only way to get there is to go through life first. And that’s not always easy.
Life is hard. It’s filled with injustice, pain, sickness, and sadness. Sometimes life doesn’t seem worth it at all. But, what if we looked at life a little differently? What if we looked at life from God’s perspective?
The thing about pain is that it can deceive us into thinking that pain is all there is. But, God sees the entire trajectory of life and the afterlife. From His perspective, this life and all its pain is a blink, a fraction of a moment, compared to the eternal joy and love that awaits us.
St. Paul lived life from God’s perspective, and his words are a great consolation whenever life gets too overwhelming:
“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18). “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor 4:17).
Eternal glory beyond all comparison! That’s what awaits us, that’s what we live for, that’s what you were created for, and that’s reason enough for a million mornings.