“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:13, 14
When I was younger I used to read comic books, and one of my favorites was about Conan the Barbarian. Conan was always facing down demons, saving maidens, and squashing the enemy – a perfect hero for a pimply faced four eyed introverted child. I dreamed of being like Conan – packed with muscles and desired by the ladies. I liked Superman, but I couldn’t really be him. Superman was actually an alien who came to our world. But Conan was a scrawny pimply faced child until evil people kidnapped him and forced him into slavery. It was as a slave that Conan became powerful, able to defeat any enemy. He eventually destroyed those who enslaved him in the first place.
One of Conan’s favorite sayings was “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. When I heard that saying I didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t Conan who first said this, but the German Philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Nietzsche believed in nihilism, the belief that nothing has any inherent importance and that life lacks purpose. He wrote in several of his texts that “God is dead”. Life just happens. We are on this earth for no reason other than to live out our lives as best we can, then we cease to be while our bodies lay rotting without purpose in boxes.
If runners in a marathon were told that there was no finish line, no winner, no ultimate goal, then there would be no runners nor marathon. If life has no purpose other than this moment then why live? Even Conan had a purpose. When he went out on an adventure he sought to save the maiden, to gain riches, to beat the bad guys.
As I outgrew the comic books I tried living – or should I say dying – Nihilism. I tried living for myself, purposeless, without goals. I drank hard on Friday and Saturday, slept in on Sunday, lived for the moment. All the while my soul grew more and more empty, and I felt more and more useless.
Then God found me. He wasn’t the god of Nihilism, the god of Conan, the god called Crom. When Conan was asked about his god one day he painted Crom as grim and gloomy, gazing unconcerned at humanity from atop his mountain perch. Crom is ready to judge, but never to help. The God Who found me saw my flaws, but offered to save me from them. The God Who found me gave Himself for me, paying for my failures and my sins. The God Who found me purchased me from nothingness so He could raise me up to be something. The God Who found me starting working in my life from the day we met, and has not ceased working to make me better than I was. The God Who found me gave me purpose. He stands with me no matter where I go and no matter what I do. Even when I fail He reaches out and lifts me up.
This God is not Crom, but Jesus Christ. Those who love Him are “zealous of good works”, people of purpose, people with a goal. Our goal is to tell others about the God Who is not Crom, to tell others how much He loves us, and how He proved that love by giving Himself for us.
That same Lord and Savior calls to you today. Come away my Beloved. Come away from purposelessness. Come away, and soar on eagle’s wings with me.