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We Don’t Have To Look For ‘The Answer”

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I don’t know what the song was called or who it was by, but I remember the quote from it that I happened to see somewhere: ‘I’m tired of waiting for the answer.’

It’s a very common theme in music, movies and literature (not to mention real life): mankind is constantly searching or waiting for ‘the answer,’ ‘the meaning of life,’ or whatever other name he may give it.

People talk about “the answer” as if it’s mysterious, unclear, elusive, or even nonexistent. But the reality is that the “answer” is none of these things. It only seems hard to find because people aren’t really looking for it — or, more precisely, it’s not what they’re looking for.

In his book “Shout!” (a biography of the Beatles), author Philip Norman describes a scenario frequently seen in the late 1960s: young people sitting at the feet of one self-appointed “guru” or another, seeking “wisdom without learning, and a holiness compatible with doing as they pleased.”

In other words, they weren’t looking for an answer that was right, or an answer that really worked. They were just looking for an “answer” that they liked.

If anything will keep someone from finding the real answer, it will be their insistence that any “answer” they find must meet with their personal approval — must not require them to change, must not hurt their pride, and must not keep them from doing whatever they want.

Mankind is constantly trying to invent its own “answers,” and these do exactly what they should be expected to do: they appeal to people in various ways, but fail to do anything that’s actually worthwhile or productive.

When our Creator gave us the real answer through Jesus Christ — providing a way to himself that only he could make — he knew exactly what he was doing. He set things up so that the real answer wouldn’t stroke our pride or indulge our selfishness. He made it so that doing what’s right would bring far more lasting fulfillment than simply getting our way would.

Our Creator made his way easy to recognize, but challenging and unpopular to follow. He made it a way that a given person has to either follow whole-heartedly and with absolute commitment, or not at all.

Human nature being what it is, though, mankind has often tried to turn God’s way into something it isn’t — something easy that doesn’t threaten our comfort zones or require us to be changed on the inside. Some of us have tried to boil it down to superficial rituals that make us feel religiously “right” while leaving our hearts untouched. Others of us have created a false “god” who’s basically OK with everything — except, of course, for whatever we might happen to disapprove of.

But God’s way is not there for us to modify to our own specifications, or place judgment on, or pick and choose from, or find some appealing substitute for. It is there to be discovered by honest searching and wholeheartedly yielded to. Doing anything less is to settle for an appealing but worthless counterfeit.



 

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