A recent edition of USA Today contained an interesting survey that is worthy of some reflection. The following question was posed to adults across the nation:
If you could get in contact with God directly, ask a question, and get an immediate reply—what would you ask?
Here are the results:
The highest percentage (34%) wants to know: “What is my purpose here?” The Lord has answered that question already.
Our purpose is to glorify God. That is the reason for which we were made (Isaiah 43:7). The whole duty of man is to fear (reverence) God and obey his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). There is no reason for human existence apart from serving the Creator, and in this we find our greatest contentment.
The next group (19%) is anxious to inquire: “Will I have life after death?”
That is the very question Job asked: “If a man die, shall he live again?” (14:14). He subsequently expressed a confident, positive affirmation of future existence (19:25ff). [See the article, Job’s Redeemer.] God, through his word, has provided the answer.
Yes, there is life after death, and it will be either with the Lord in heaven, or with Satan in hell (Matthew 25:46)—depending upon whether or not one is prepared (Matthew 25:1-13).
Another segment (16%) wants to know: “Why do bad things happen?” Again, Scripture addresses this query.
Sometimes difficulty comes because of our personal sins (1 Peter 4:15). Hardships also result from the kind of world in which we live. It is an environment of natural law.
Nature’s laws are quite beneficial, but we can suffer harm when they are broken. We can be in the wrong place at the right time (Luke 13:4-5).
Some bad things happen as a result of the sin that was unleashed in this world by our ancestors (Romans 5:12) or by the wickedness of others.
The important question is not: Why do these things happen?—they will continue to happen whether or not we understand their purpose. The question should be how are we to act in response to life’s hardships? [We have discussed this subject in much greater detail in our volume, The Book of Job.]
Significantly, twelve percent of those surveyed had no idea what they would ask God if they could expect a personal answer from him. Doesn’t that say something about the shallowness of society?
It’s one thing not to know the answers; it is an entirely different matter to not even know enough to ask a sensible question. Truly, vast multitudes are like sheep, wandering aimlessly about with no sense of direction and no concept of eternity.
A few (7%) would like to know if there is intelligent life elsewhere. A cynic might wonder whether there’s much “intelligent” life here on earth! But yes, there is intelligent life—in heaven, God the Father, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the angels. Moreover, there are the conscious souls of the dead in Hades (the intermediate state)—either in Paradise (Luke 23:43), or in the place of torment (Luke 16:23).
Finally, six percent would like to know exactly how long they will live.
Would you really want to know that? Such would be like being on death row—counting off the days until the time of execution. Moreover, many would live unrestrained, wicked lives—saving the day before their death as a time of obedience. What glory would there be in that for God? Indeed, what honor for man?
The truth of the matter is this. The Bible contains the answers to all the appropriate questions we have in this lifetime. We need to pour over its sacred pages and seek the counsel of him who made us.
Perhaps the greatest question that many of us need to contemplate is one that God himself might ask: “Are you serious about doing My will?”