In World War Two, Viktor Frankl found himself in a Nazi concentration camp. His book Man’s Search for Meaning recounts many of the terrible things he endured.
But he also talks about how you can find meaning even in horrible situations. Here’s an example.
Some of Frankl’s fellow prisoners had figured out a way to escape. So they approached Frankl to see if he wanted to be included in the plan. But by that time, Frankl was serving as a doctor to other sick people in the camp.
So he said ‘No.’ He didn’t want to be a part of the escape plan. But why?
Because he had a personal purpose that was more important than escape: To help those who would be left behind—to help those who still needed care.
If you’re reading this, you’re not in a concentration camp. And I’m not doubting there are hard things in your life. And I know it would be good to be in a different situation sometimes.
But what if you took a lead from Viktor Frankl and poured yourself into what’s in front of you, even if it’s tough?
- What if a difficult relationship you’re already in is the one you’re supposed to enrich?
- What if a challenge you can’t seem to get around is the one you’re supposed to overcome?
- What if a problem in your neighbourhood that makes you want to move is the reason you should stay?
Having a godly purpose has a way of shooting hardship in the foot.
Proverbs 24:10 says: “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!” Sometimes a time of trouble does in fact mean that something needs to change. But sometimes, a time of trouble means you need to pull up your socks, and flex the muscle God gave you to expand his light in a place that is otherwise dark.
Sometimes you just have to pour yourself into what’s already in front of you. For light. For the good of the world. And usually, for the benefit of somebody else.
More often than not, that’s what it means to be alive.
By Matthew Ruttan