Sometimes to understand the present we have to examine the past. Purposeless people wander the earth and wonder what is the meaning of life? Fortunately for us, the Bible clearly defines why God created us. If we look to the past, King David prayed, “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all”(1 Chronicles 29:11). David recognized that everything belonged to God and that He was therefore exalted. The prophet Isaiah wrote “Bring My sons from far away, and My daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone called by My name and created for My glory. I have formed him; indeed, I have made him” (Isa. 43:6b,7). Isaiah tells us that we were created for God’s glory—this is our purpose.
Phil Downer in his book, Eternal Impact, differentiates between the value of success and significance. For success, he likes the definition Chip MacGregor and Bobb Biehl devised, “the feeling you get when you reach your goals.” Phil defines significance as “making a difference in the lives of people over time.” For Downer, the distinction between success and significance is that the former ends with the attainment of goals whereas the latter has a lasting dimension. I’m conflicted with his distinction because the ability to attain significance is a mark of success. But let’s take it deeper to the point Phil is really making—reproduction of what is important is what we ought to seek. To do this requires training.
The Last 100 Yards is the National Infantry Museum’s signature exhibit. Figures cast from current soldiers make up the life-like scenes representing eight wars fought by Americans. As guests make their way into the museum, they walk up a 100-yard-long gently inclining ramp, which signifies the infantry’s role in taking the last 100 yards of any battle. As I walked the ramp with four other officers, the sights, sounds and solemn feel of the exhibit breathed sacrifice. We had already progressed part way when Mr. Talley, an elderly guide, asked if he could share with us the significance of what we were seeing. He proudly discussed the detailed planning and symbolism behind each section. He shared of the tears and the deep emotion felt by many veterans and their families who visited the museum just outside Fort Benning, Georgia, in the past two months since its opening.
April 28this a milestone in the York household. My oldest son Bryan celebrates his 16thbirthday. Bryan was diagnosed with a brain-stem tumor on February 14, 1991. His doctor told us he had zero chance of survival; his tumor was a ticking time bomb. At the age of three Bryan endured 72 radiation treatments that shrunk his tumor, damaged his hearing, impaired his mobility, and degraded his ability to process information. In June of that same year, a group of young-married couples gathered with Kathleen, Bryan, and me to weep, pray for him, and worship in song our awesome God. The Holy Spirit descended into our midst and healed our son. He also profoundly taught me the power and hope that comes from worship.