Author: Mpho Khoele
It’s like a cold shower on a blisteringly hot day, something that shocks your system and jolts you out of that slumber that you’ve been in. You do not know where it has come from, you just feel shocked, terrified, and disorientated. Suddenly you start to question everything from the grandiose to the mundane…
Why am I here?
What is the meaning of life?
Do I matter?
Often times, and unjustly so, we refer to this time in our lives as a ‘midlife crisis’. I’m against this term as I believe it’s a fallacy. This can happen at any time in our lives - we are conscious human beings and we tend to question things.
I often wonder why God made us such wondering, inquisitive creatures. I wonder when we have questions and are carrying on like mindless drones, does he chuckle to himself at our pure ‘humanness’?
One of my unlikely favorite characters in the Bible is Jacob. He is such an anti-hero, an archetype of rebellion and stubbornness. But, the beauty of his story is his humanity, his flawed nature, and its fallibility. Initially, he was a villain, but through redemption, that only God could bring, he came to the end of himself and he surrendered. The beauty was in the struggle.
Genesis 32:24-26 (NIV)
'So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” '
Jacob knew that he could not carry on on the path he was going so he chose differently.
So you may wonder what the story of Jacob has to do with an existential crisis. For me it’s easy to draw a parallel with my own life. We are all in a fight with ourselves, true? Not just with ourselves, but also with God. We fight for and against the life that He has in mind for us. We want to follow the path that we so meticulously, and often foolishly, work out for ourselves.
And, oh yes, we do struggle - against ourselves, against society, and against God himself. That is, until we say, 'Okay Lord, I concede defeat, I don’t know what I’m doing!'
For our own good, these existential questions must be asked sooner rather than later. Why do I say sooner? Because, often times we are in a battle that we simply cannot win or experience God's fullness in our lives. We waste countless years wandering around the same desolate space, never really going anywhere.
So, it’s better to stop questioning and struggling and embrace God’s future!
We all know that our God is a gentleman and that He will let us choose whichever life we think is best. But oh, the joy, happiness, and sense of purpose we experience when we choose Him!
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