14 Mar Man’s search for meaning
“And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save
your lives by a great deliverance.” ~the words of JOSEPH in Genesis 45:7
There can be seasons in our life that we’d rather not go through, but no matter what season we find ourselves, it can be made more bearable if we find meaning in it. There’s a heart warming story that Viktor Frankl tells in his book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. (Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist and holocaust survivor)
The story is of an elderly gentleman, retired Doctor, whose wife had died 2 years earlier and found himself drowning in grief. He loved his wife so much, he couldn’t get over losing her. He visited Viktor Frankl for help.
Frankl didn’t know what to say to be able to help him, so he decided not to tell him anything but instead ask him a question. “What would have happened, Doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you?”
“Oh,” he said, “for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!”
Frankl replied, “You see, Doctor, such a suffering has been spared her, and it was you who have spared her this suffering — to be sure, at the price that now you have to survive and mourn her.”
The elderly doctor didn’t say a word but shook Frankl’s hand and calmly left his office.
Frankl responds to this story saying that, ‘in some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice’.
There’s another story in the Bible of a man named Joseph which also illustrates this point. Joseph was the favoured son but was sold into slavery by his brothers, then falsely accused of adultery and thrown into prison. The favour of God was with him as he always did what was right despite being treated so wrong.
He ends up being second in charge of all Egypt when a famine strikes the land. His family lived in Egypt and because of the famine, were desperate for food. They came to Joseph for help as he was the man who handed out the supplies. But his brothers didn’t recognise who Joseph really was.
Joseph tested his brothers to see if they still had the same heart when they sold him into slavery. They passed the test, they had changed. Joseph then revealed himself and was able to save his entire family from starvation. Joseph had realised the sacrifice he had made was for a purpose, the deliverance of his family and he found consolation from this.
This story is found in Genesis (37–50). May you find meaning and therefore consolation from suffering that you are feeling right now. Blessing Yvette Wynne