The following is a guest post from Gavin H. Wells, novelist and friend of WE Believe. Learn more about him and his writing at www.gavinhwells.com.
We all have questions, and this one about life itself is one of the biggest. Purpose. Everyone searches for it in one way or another, often not even realizing that’s what they’re doing. Countless books, movies, songs, sermons, etc. have been devoted to asking questions and seeking answers about purpose — or the lack thereof. So many conflicting voices and messages in a loud and complex world crowd our minds, though, often preventing us from thinking clearly enough to even know how to find the truth on this topic. So we sometimes just give up and proceed to live lives devoid of any real meaning.
This is tragic. And totally avoidable.
Just the fact that you exist is evidence of purpose. You were created (or encoded) with a precise genetic makeup contained in tens of trillions of individual cells in your body that have collectively given you the ability to walk, to reason, to create, to love, etc. And you have been given talents in particular areas that enable you to excel and, in turn, feel pleasure — alive, even — in doing so.
This is all purpose; it is not coincidence.
So, using those reasoning skills that I have been purposefully given, it’s not a stretch to conclude that the greater power who decided you should be born with X, Y, and Z abilities, would also want you to discover why.
In my case, I was born with a natural ability to write and tell stories. In my younger days, I thought the reason was so I could craft best-sellers and brag on late night talk shows about how awesome my novels were. Reality (and a modicum of maturity?) eventually set in, though, and I started to take my writing more seriously and truly consider why I had been given that ability.
Eventually I learned that my primary purpose was to attempt to communicate Truth through fiction — basically trying to emulate what Jesus did when he told parables. There is great power in story. After all, the most powerful book ever written to change lives — the Bible — is one big story comprised of many interwoven sub-stories. We are all living an individual story — no matter what form it takes and whether or not we even realize it — that is also part of the greater Story.
This concept has fascinated me for a long time, and I explore it deeply in my “Infinite Story” sci-fi novel series — a series I believe I was literally born (or purposed) to write, beginning with book one, Destitution. The premise is this:
In a futuristic society, a scientist who engineered a virus to selectively eradicate every member of a large organization then joins that organization and must fight her former and powerful allies to save herself and all humanity from a new form of technological slavery.
On the surface, the novel is an action-packed sci-fi thrill ride anyone can enjoy for purely entertainment value. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find that Destitution has much to say on the topic of purpose, as the various characters wrestle with finding their own purposes — or rejecting them — and the consequences that result for them as individuals and for greater society.
This also happens to be the opening theme of We Believe’s “Explore God” campaign, which recently kicked off in Richmond, Virginia. Ministers of all backgrounds and denominations from across the metropolitan area are tackling the weighty and critical topic of purpose and meaning. In that same spirit, I thought I would add my input. I’m not a preacher, though (fortunately for everyone who might have to listen to me), so I thought I would contribute in a different way — the way I am purposed to deliver: through story. I offer you Destitution as a unique way to inspire critical thinking and questions about purpose; and should you give it a read, I hope that it would help lead you to find your own story and how to live it as part of the greater Story.