Viktor Frankl, who died in 1997 at the age of 92, was a holocaust survivor. He and his wife along with his parents and other Jewish family members were sent to Nazi concentration camps in 1942.
Frankl, who even endured Auschwitz, was the only member of his family to survive the holocaust.
After the war, he developed a form of therapy called logotherapy that was based on his time in the concentration camp. He along with others were able to mentally and physically survive their concentration camp experience by finding a purpose and meaning in the midst of the horror.
In fact, he even wrote a book on this entitled “Man’s Search for Meaning” based on his concentration camp experience.
He believed that within people there is an instinctive desire for meaning. We all need a purpose for our life and people attain happiness when they find that sense of meaning.
He went on to suggest that many forms of mental illnesses such as depression can be attributed to this lack of meaning because without a sense of purpose we lose hope.
All Frankl did was speak to one of the major themes of the Bible.
God, who created us, knows how humanity functions best, and the Lord put that need for meaning inside us. However, because of our fall into sin, we have lost this larger sense of purpose.
But God hasn’t.
Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, God said:
God not only has a purpose for your life, the Lord has a plan for you as well. Your life is not meaningless.
It is your responsibility to believe this and then to discover God’s purpose for your life and I believe finding it often starts with serving and helping people.
We need to connect with real people and I believe social media has deluded many into thinking that a digital connection on Facebook or Instagram is real. It isn’t. Which may explain why depression and suicide rates are skyrocketing among young people today.
Frankl also believed that even in difficult times we need to find a higher sense of purpose to the pain we are going through which helps us go through it.
Frankl told how he helped an older doctor who was struggling through depression after his wife died. He told the man, that if he had died first, his wife would be going through this pain instead of him. His purpose was helping her avoid this pain of loss.
In reality, Frankl was simply rephrasing something the Apostle Paul said two thousand years ago:
Paul says all things work together for good and clearly the Apostle is referring to our difficult times and struggles. And we can endure hard times by understanding that we have a higher calling and a higher purpose even in the midst of our suffering.
God has a purpose for your life. It is your responsibility to find it.
- An Overview of Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy: Very Well Mind