|Photo credit: Huffington Post|
The Hunger for Meaning
Recently the Huffington Post ran an article titled, “Searching for Meaning at the Top of Oprah Winfrey’s World.” According to the article, the Oprah Winfrey Network received low ratings when it began in 2011. But when the network added a segment called “Super Soul Sunday” which explores questions of “spirituality, happiness, awareness and fulfillment,” viewership skyrocketed. The segment is now the crowned jewel of OWN and Oprah’s favorite gig.
Explaining the reason for the show’s success, president of OWN Sheri Salata says, “There is a hunger for meaning. There is a hunger for something that speaks to you directly about yourself, and your life, and for illumination.” And it seems that the response to “Super Soul Sunday” is a reflection of this hunger.
It’s a Universal Question
I totally agree -- there is a hunger for meaning inherent in all of us. It’s that faint but persistent voice in the back of our minds that asks, “What’s my purpose? Is there more to my life than what I’m living?”
So what’s the answer? Where do we go to find our meaning?
The Answer: Turning Aside
I wonder -- did Bible characters have the same gnawing questions about meaning and purpose that we do? If so, then those of Moses must have certainly been answered that momentous day he encountered God in the burning bush:
“…the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush…Moses thought, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.’” (Ex. 3:2,3)
That phrase “turn aside” is an important one. Moses could have just kept on walking in order to maintain the comfortable status quo of his life. But he decided to break from routine and answer the Lord’s invitation to draw closer.
When he did, God blew Moses’s socks off. The Lord spoke from the midst of the fire and said,
Moses, Moses!...I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob…I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt…So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians…So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt. (Ex. 3:4, 6, 8, 10)
Just imagine -- Moses had been living the quiet existence of a shepherd for the last forty years. I’m sure a comfortable predictability had settled over his life. But now God was calling Moses to a different life, an adventurous life. A life where seas part and manna falls from heaven, where God speaks from burning mountaintops and water gushes from rocks. A life where Moses himself would be the leader of an entire race of people.
And all because Moses chose to “turn aside” and respond to God’s invitation to draw close to Him.
In the same way, the Lord invites each of us to turn aside and draw near to the fire of His holy presence. As we do, He begins to unfold His adventurous plan for our lives. We may be surprised at the things He has in mind for us (writing a blog, for example!), but to be sure, they will answer the hunger for meaning that gnaws at our souls. He has created each one of us for a purpose, and He awaits the moment that we turn to Him and let Him unlock the treasures that lay dormant in our hearts.