Heathdale flower 15th October 2020

A Peg in the Ground

God anchors our understanding of life through his Creation.

Heathdale flower

Have you ever watched a movie that had you totally engrossed but left you feeling a bit unsettled after it ended? I remember this is how I felt after watching the film ‘Into the Wild’. On one level it was an amazing film with brilliant scenery and photography but on another level it left me feeling deeply unsettled.

‘Into the Wild’ is based on the true story of 23-year old, Christopher McCandless who tried to discover himself by living for an extended period in the Yukon, Alaska. After graduating from College, Christopher gave away his life savings of $24,000 to Oxfam and severed all connections with those around him. He burned his license and identity card and abandoned his family and friends in order to discover who he was and to determine what life is all about.

As he hitchhiked to Alaska, he encountered a variety of people who all assisted him in finding some meaning in life. Yet these encounters were shadowed by the anguish of his parents and sister who didn’t hear from him or about him for more than two and half years. He arrived in the Yukon and spent an extended period in the Alaskan wilderness, reading and reflecting on the people he had met. During this time Christopher McCandless continued searching; trying to find how this all fitted together and what really gave meaning to his life.

As I was reflecting on what Christopher McCandless did in an attempt to find the meaning of life, I remembered a dear old man from my church who shared with me ‘that God reveals Himself to us in the opening pages of the Bible as the Creator of the universe because He wants us to have a strong framework of reference in which we can construct and develop our beliefs and understandings of Him. Without the knowledge that the universe came into being by His hand, life has no meaning nor purpose.’ That’s why we read in Genesis 2;

“Heaven and Earth were finished, down to the last detail. By the seventh day God had finished his work. On the seventh day he rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day. He made it a Holy Day because on that day he rested from his work, all the creating God had done. This is the story of how it all started, of Heaven and Earth when they were created.” Genesis 2:1-2 (The Message)

My wise old friend then went on to say, ‘If God goes, then everything that is worthwhile also goes because everything lacks permanence, stability and reality without God.’ His words captured that of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah who understood this when he wrote “The Lord of Hosts declares, the peg driven in so firmly shall be wrenched out and give way, till everything that hung upon it shall come down.” (Isaiah 22:35, Moffatt)

When the peg of materialistic philosophy, upon which almost everything is hanging in this day and age, is wrenched out by trouble and strife, such as a pandemic or an economic calamity or a family difficulty, then our hopes, our plans, our dreams and our confidence seem to go with it.

We endeavour to help our students understand that when our peg is God, everything ultimately holds, even though we might be shaken and stirred amid the stress and strain of our circumstances. It is God who enables us to have a framework that stands strong in all circumstances, enabling us to understand life’s purpose.

Each of us can have a ‘Christopher McCandless moment’ when we search for meaning and purpose. In our activity we think we are making headway but in actual fact it is God who is really at work. He is constantly seeking us out! Sometimes we are quick to respond whilst at other times we can be hard of hearing and fail to respond to His call.

Despite all that we do, our Lord’s heart is one that constantly seeks us out, drawing us into His presence to enjoy the covenant relationship with Him. No wonder all praise and glory belongs to Him. He searched for me and found me. He searched for you and found you. He searched for us and found us. How blessed we are because of His searching heart.