Doug Johnson: We need a reason to survive when we are under pressure
Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 24, 2022
Years ago, Austrian psychiatrist Victor Frankl wrote extensively on the relation of the meaning of life to the whole structure of personality.
He claimed that the need to find meaning in life is more basic to a human being than pleasure or power or anything else.
The thesis he repeats again and again is that if a person has a “why” to live, he can endure almost any “how.”
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But if that dimension of “why” is lacking, then the whole structure of one’s life eventually collapses.
This insight into the importance of meaning was developed by Frankl during the years he spent as a Jewish prisoner in a German concentration camp. Life there was unbelievably harsh and brutal.
The prisoners were forced to work long hours and were barely given enough food, clothing and shelter to survive.
As the months unfolded, Frankl began to note that some prisoners soon collapsed under the pressure and gave up and died, while others under the same conditions continued to hope and managed to stay alive.
Using the tools of his psychiatric training, he would talk in the evening to scores of fellow inmates about this and he found a pattern beginning to emerge.
Those prisoners who had something to live for, an objective that gave a sense of meaning to their lives, were the ones who tended to mobilize their strength and survive.
Their objectives varied widely.
One prisoner had a mentally challenged child back home and had a great desire to get back and take care of him.
Another had a girlfriend he expected to marry as soon as the war was over.
Frankl himself had begun a book and had a fierce desire to survive and finish it and get it published.
What about you, what are you living for?
The Bible tells us in James 4:14, “You know not what shall be tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.”
The truth is that life is short and death comes to us all.
Job 14:1-2 states: “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and is cut down.”
I am not afraid of dying, but rather I am afraid of not living.
What would it profit me to live 70, 80 or 90 years on this planet and then have nothing to show for it?
While it is true that life is short, it doesn’t have to be meaningless.
Jesus said in John 10:10, “I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.”
He alone can give meaning to life and make it worth living.
Everything in life will pass away.
Friends and family leave or disappoint us… jobs come and go…automobiles rust… houses rot and decay.
But Jesus is the only One who will never leave nor forsake you.
If you are struggling with fears, pain, and problems, give them to the One who cares for you.
Jesus answers the “why” of life and with Him you can overcome any obstacle.
If your life seems meaningless and hopeless, He can give you hope and a reason to live!
Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.