What is the Meaning of Life
Where Does Your Happiness Come From?
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 95 Where Does Your Happiness Come From? by Ernest O’Neill
What would you do if you won the pools? Or, if you won the State lottery? What would you do if you won four million dollars, or two million pounds? All of us, of course, like to think of what we would do. We think, “Oh, I’d buy my Aunt Joan this, and I’d buy my father this. I’d take this kind of a holiday or vacation. I’d buy this kind of house, and I’d love this kind of car. I might even learn to fly.” We think of all the wonderful things we would do.
All of us rise to that because we feel, deep down, that we were actually made for that kind of thing, don’t we? We may smile at each other when we say that, but we deep down do feel that this is something of what we were meant to have. If we could experience that, that would be absolute happiness and perfect fulfillment. Deep down, of course, we know from observing other people that, in fact, it isn’t absolute happiness or complete fulfillment. But still, we feel there’s something there that makes us excited. There’s something there that satisfies a need that we have and that we know is real.
Of course, it is true. There is a need deep down for the security that that kind of money would appear to bring us. So, all of us work and slave during our lifetime to try to get something of that kind of security. We never reach that degree of material security, but we try to head towards it. We feel we were made for some kind of stability. We often express it this way. We say, “I want my children to have what I did not have.”
That’s a well known saying. We all know that. We all rise to it, and say, “Yeah, that’s a very laudable and a very human and reasonable motive to have in your life. I want my children to have what I didn’t have.” We all feel that’s right to do that. But, deep down, of course, we feel that if our children can have what we didn’t have, maybe we will have some of it also.
Maybe if we work hard and get some kind of material security that we can pass on to them, we can enjoy a little of it on the way as it’s going through our hands. Indeed, who knows? If they’re good children and faithful to us, they might even take some care of us when we get past the stage of caring for ourselves.
So, we are all very conscious of the need for some kind of security. The reason for that is, we were made for absolute security. We were. We were made by a dear Creator. That’s why you have an eye that is able to focus better than your Nikon camera. That’s why you have a sound system that is better than the latest that the Japanese have produced in stereo sound systems. You have a better one inside your ears than they will ever produce.
It’s because your ears and your eyes were made by better manufacturers than your cameras or your stereo system. They were made by an intelligent being who lies behind our universe. We’ve been talking about that intelligent Being and about the fact that He had a Son who appeared on our planet about 1960 years ago. That Son assured us that His Father, the Creator of the universe, made you and made me because he wanted to love us. That’s it. He wanted to love us.
He wanted us to be His friends. He wanted us to be His children. He wanted us to walk through our lives with Him beside us. He’s invisible. But He’s able to feed thoughts through our minds to us, and He wanted us to walk in that kind of relationship with Himself. As we did that, He would provide us with all that we needed.
That’s what this man, Jesus said. He said, “Why are you anxious about your life, what you’ll eat or what
you’ll drink, or what you’ll put on? Is life not far more than clothing? Isn’t the body more than just raiment? Look at the lilies of the field. They don’t toil and they don’t reap, and yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is cast into the fire, will He not much more clothe you? And look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And why are you anxious? You, with all your anxiety cannot add one cubit to the span of your life. Your heavenly Father knows that you need all of these things.”
So, He assured us that our Father loved us, and knew we needed material security. He knew we needed certain clothes and certain houses and shelter and food, in order to continue to live the span of years that He had planned for us in this life here on this earth. He knew that. He would take care of those things.
Of course, if we had lived believing in Him, and not become practical little atheists, as we continued to trust Him, as of course, we came to trust the ground under our feet. You don’t worry all the time whether it will fall away from you or not. Even if you do live in California, you still accept that the ground is pretty solid. The people in Australia aren’t all worried about whether they’re going to fall off the bottom of the world or not.
Just as we trust those things that are all created by Him and held in place by Him, so it’s reasonable to trust Him and depend on Him for the things that we need in this present life. But, we, of course, have decided: “No, we’re not! We’re not going to do that. We don’t know who holds the world in place. We don’t know why it stays in its regular orbits, month after month, and year after year.” We don’t really know what the Law of Gravity is. We just give it a name. We don’t explain it.
We don’t really know how our heart beats. We know that it beats. We don’t know what keeps our blood chugging around our body thousands of miles every week, but we’re going to believe that we are self-created; we’re self-dependent. We’re self-created and we can get from this world what we need from it ourselves.
Except that we are left with a great sense of emptiness. Because, of course, what we get from our Creator is not just an assurance that the world economy and our own national economies and, indeed, our own mini-economies in our own neighborhood will work in such a way that we will be supplied with everything we need — but we get beyond that a sense of the reason why He’s providing those things for us.
Behind that sense of why He’s providing things for us lies His love. That’s really what we need. Of course, we know that so well in our own lives. It’s not your dad’s ability to provide money to provide you with clothes that matters so much to you. There comes a time when you pass beyond that need, and yet, you still need his love. It’s his love that is dear to you.
It’s not your mother’s ability to wash your clothes or to supply you with food each day on time that counts most to you. It’s her love. Those things just express her love. So, we in stopping believing in this Creator, in giving up any conscious dependence upon Him day by day for His supply of our needs, we cut ourselves off from a sense of His love. So, we feel the need to get that love. The only way we know to get it is to try to substitute some of the characteristics of that love for the love itself.
One of those characteristics is the supply of all our physical necessities. So, we end up trying to ensure that we can get from the world of things the security and the stability that the Creator of the world alone can guarantee. So, you know what we do. We get the best education that we can, trade it in for the best possible job that we can get, buy the best car that we can get, trade it up at the earliest possible moment for a better car. Buy the most secure housing that we can find, try to pay the mortgage off as fully as we
can, try to begin to invest our money and set up a pension fund, so that somehow we can establish that sense of security that the Creator alone can finally give us. And He can give it to us not only because He can supply us with the physical necessities, but because He can give us that sense of love from the infinite Being behind the universe.
So, we end up trying to establish a security for ourselves from things that we can finally only get from the love of the Creator. But that we lack. So, we are bound on a course of futility. Let’s talk a little about that tomorrow.