The idea that life would be better off without us is powerfully presented in the 1946 film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” George Bailey asked himself this very question. But when he was about to end it all, George was granted the opportunity to see what life would be like without him. He came to the realization that he had actually made a tremendous impact, and he really did have a wonderful life. Of course, that was a movie.
What happens when this question is not just in a movie but a nagging question in our own everyday life? “What do I contribute to life?” “I seem to do more harm than good.” “Does God even care if I’m alive?” This way of thinking is directly related to our sense of value and significance in the world.
I should say from the start that I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, or any other kind of health-care professional. However, from a personal standpoint, I would like to offer some considerations that may help you have a different perspective.
You should know that you are not alone in asking these questions of God. Job in the Old Testament asked similar questions of God. He laments to God, “Why wasn’t I born dead? Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb?” (Job 3:11, NLT). Job could not find meaning in his life and suffering. We also see the psalmist crying out with questions of meaning (see Psalm 88). Yet God looked on these questioning men favorably. Job is described as a man who is blameless and upright. David had the Lord’s anointing. In other words, even great people of faith asked tough questions about their significance. It’s okay to ask such questions of God.
When looking in scripture we see two distinct purposes we have in life. We have a general purpose that is for all people everywhere as well a specific purpose that individuals must discern themselves.
First, humans have a general purpose. From a Christian standpoint, God created with intentionality. In the story of Genesis, we are the climax of God’s creation. Humans were created “very good” and in the image of God. While we were created “very good,” we chose to turn toward evil. Christ saw our value and made a way for us to live a new life. We have the amazing prerogative to enter into a relationship with our Creator and Savior and to tell others about this amazing love that we can have through Christ.
Secondly, as individuals we have a more specific purpose. Each of us has been given gifts, talents, and a unique set of people whom we can influence and who influence us. While we don’t have a specific chapter and verse outlining what decisions we should make, we have the Holy Spirit that aids in directing our steps.
We may not see our influence or importance right now, but that does not mean we are not making a positive impact. We may even think we are doing more harm than good. But our purpose is not based on the results we see at any specific moment in our lives. Our purpose is to live in relationship with God and with others, and use our unique individuality to enhance those relationships.
Undoubtedly, one of Satan’s strategies is to try to convince people that they don’t matter–that they’re insignificant. But God’s plan of salvation is exactly the opposite. No matter what you may think of yourself right now, God has demonstrated that He thinks you are important enough to suffer for and to die for. That’s precisely what He did–for you.
It’s difficult when others don’t seem to care or pay you much attention. But your value to yourself, and even to them, comes directly from God. By His grace, I pray that you will see yourself “as a child of the King.” That should help move you to recognize your unique value and that life would not be better off without you, especially when you are trying to live a Godly life.