I think we all have questions we would like to ask God. How wonderful would it be to sit down to a cup of coffee with Jesus and say, “I have a few things I wanted to ask you about.”
We’re all searching in life. We’re all searching for something. At a very young age, I started asking, “What is the meaning of life?” This was because I had to grow up fast, being raised in an alcoholic home with a mom who was absent and really no father to speak of. I was searching for purpose and meaning in my life. I thought there had to be more to life than what I was experiencing.
As a young boy, I started experimenting. I got into the party scene. I started getting drunk. And then I got into drugs. I heard that drugs would make you more aware, and it was true. I took drugs and became more aware of how empty I was.
I was searching. I didn’t know what I was on this earth for. For me, it became a process of elimination. Even before I became a Christian, I saw the dead-end street of drinking, and I certainly saw it in drugs as some of my friends already were seeing their lives unravel. I also saw the effects in my own life. “If it isn’t in those things,” I thought, “where is it?” It wasn’t in the world of affluence I had seen my mother living in. Where was the answer?
I used to hang around in Newport Beach, trying to look tough with my hair hanging in my eyes. I remember watching Christians hand out their little religious booklets. I was always thinking, “Come and talk to me.” I wanted to talk to them, but I was too proud to ask for help. They would quickly shove one of their booklets in my direction, and I would take it and put it into my pocket as though I didn’t care. But I never threw those booklets away. I took them home and put them into a drawer I thought of as my God drawer. Any literature that was religious in nature got thrown into that drawer. I had religious literature from every group imaginable.
Every now and then I would empty the drawer and sit on my bed, trying to figure it all out, wondering how I could find life’s meaning.
But something was happening on my high-school campus. The Jesus Movement was underway, and a bunch of very outspoken Christians at my high school were following Christ. One of my friends had even warned me, “Laurie, careful. There are a lot of Jesus freaks on this campus.”
“Oh right,” I said sarcastically. “As if Greg Laurie is going to become a Jesus freak.”
I dismissed those Christians. I thought they were nuts. But then there was this really cute girl, and I saw one of my friends talking to her. I had never met her before, but there was something special about her, and I wanted to meet her. So I walked up and waited for a break in the conversation. As they were chatting away, I looked down at the books she was carrying. One of them had a black leather cover with a ribbon coming out of it.
“Oh, no,” I thought. “It’s a Bible! She’s a Jesus freak. What a waste of a perfectly cute girl!” But I said hello to her anyway.
The next day at lunch I thought, “Where is that Jesus freak girl?” I started walking across the campus, and I found her sitting in a circle with her Jesus freak friends, singing their Jesus freak songs.
I thought, “These poor, sick, demented people. Just look at them!” And then something occurred to me – something I’d never even considered before: What if they’re right? I dismissed it immediately.
“There’s no way they’re right,” I thought. “There’s no way you can believe in Jesus and have Him come into your life. That’s ridiculous. It’s fiction.” Then the thought came back. “But what if they are right? Look at your life. Look at their lives. Look at the difference. What if it’s true?”
Then a guy got up to speak. His name was Lonnie Frisbee. He looked like Jesus, with a full beard and long, shoulder-length hair, parted in the middle. He started talking about Christ, and he was reading from the Bible. I don’t remember most of what he said, but there was one thing that stuck with me: “Jesus said, ‘You’re either for me or against me.’”
I looked around at the Christians. I thought, “Well, they are for Jesus. Does that mean I’m against him?” I didn’t want to be against him. Then he said that anyone could get up, walk forward and pray to ask Jesus into their life.
I thought, “There’s no way I would ever do that.” About a minute later I was standing there praying. It was the last thing I planned on doing. But that was the day I found the meaning of life in Jesus Christ.
Today you can find meaning in life as well. The Bible doesn’t teach that the answer is within. The Bible teaches that the problem is within. It’s our heart. The Bible says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT).
So if you’re following your heart, be careful. Your heart will take you to the wrong place. You need your heart to be changed. The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. You need to have your sin forgiven, and then you can find the meaning of life you want so desperately.
When you come into a relationship with God, you discover that you’re on this earth to know God. You’re on this earth to walk with God, to have a relationship with him. You’re on this earth to bring him glory.
The Christian life – following Christ – isn’t lame and boring. It’s the best life there is. I’ve been on both sides. I’ve tried what this world has to offer, and I’ve seen the emptiness of it. But I’ve been walking with the Lord for more than 40 years now, and every day is an adventure.
You can start all over again. You can have your spiritual thirst satisfied if you will believe in Jesus Christ. And then you’ll find the meaning of life. It can happen for you.
Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, an author of more than 70 books, and an evangelist leading Harvest America, a live nationwide event streamed to thousands of host locations. Read more at Harvest.org.