U.S. Army soldiers liberated the Dachau concentration camp in 1945. The sights and smells revulsed even the most battle-hardened troops. One year later, one of the surviving prisoners, Viktor Frankl, wrote about his experiences.

Frankl published Man’s Search for Meaning insisting that “life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even the most miserable ones.” He tells the story about a pre-dawn work detail. He was hacking at the icy ground in a trench. Everything was gray: the sky, the snow, the rags the prisoners wore, their faces. He began to focus on his love for his wife. “In a last violent protest against the hopelessness of imminent death,” he wrote, “I sensed my spirit piercing through the enveloping gloom…From somewhere I heard a victorious ‘Yes’ in answer to my question of the existence of ultimate purpose. At that moment a light was lit in a distant farmhouse, which stood on the horizon as if painted there – and the light shineth in the darkness.” In that moment, the farmhouse light was a transcendent signal of love and meaning.

Did Frankl intend to quote John’s gospel describing Jesus? “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:3-5). For anyone stumbling in the darkness of suffering and meaninglessness, the Light that brings inner peace is precious.

The highest expression of human meaning is being at peace with God. J.I. Packer explains. “The basic ingredient in God’s peace is adoption into God’s family…The peace of God is first and foremost peace with God; it is the state of affairs in which God, instead of being against us, is for us. No account of God’s peace which does not start here can do other than mislead.”

So, do not be misled. In Christ Jesus, God is for you. “In Me you may have peace,” He said. “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). To have peace with God is to know Him. To that end Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). His prayer is a call to the repentant life of faith, made possible by God’s grace.

Frankl survived the concentration camps and lived to be 92. He found meaning in life by helping others find theirs. His later writings connected that quest with the necessity of a relationship with God. I’m unsure if Frankl knew the Light of the world, but you must if you are to live with God’s peace and purpose. The distant light on the horizon has come near.

To talk with someone about finding peace with God, call 855-255-7729.

Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash