Let me tell you how I got to this point of seeking purpose and meaning in life.
My first realization that there was somebody out there bigger than me - God, the Creator, you know who I mean - was prompted by the wonders of nature. One vivid scene comes to mind; as an 8 year-old child living in Montgomery, Alabama one Sunday morning I went outside into the front yard and sat on the trunk lid of my dad's green '56 Chevy. It was a crystal clear morning and looking down the street towards my friend Roxanne's house I liked the way the dew drops sparkled like crystals on the blades of grass. I immediately felt that whoever made this scene knew my childish appreciation and acknowledged it.
A heart-touching, profound interaction like this occurred in the spring of 1998 on my first visit to Ireland. Admiring the truly emerald landscape and Ballinskelligs Bay from the hillside, I silently praised God for the beauty of the place. Instantly I felt His presence right behind me, smiling and saying "Glad you like it!" Awesome. Simple! Reassuring.
Over the years I was intrigued with animals and the outdoors, becoming an avid birdwatcher along with my dad. To this day, my most intimate & heart-touching experiences with God are always in the context of nature. Once I held a little chickadee in my hand who had knocked himself out on our patio glass door; he revived, looked right at me for a moment, then flew to the trees happily. I'll never forget the sight of that small, dark brown eye opening and regarding me so intently. He was exquisite! Nowadays, my husband and I have a small 5 acre farm in the country where we provide a good home to two mutts, 3 kitties, and two aging horses. It is an honor to care for these beautiful animals, and their antics are a constant amusement to us. As we've developed the barn and pasture, flower gardens and our first veggie garden, my heart has been touched deeply to observe the cycles of growth in nature. To plant hard little seeds in the garden and weeks later enjoy fresh cucumbers and peppers from the plants the seeds produced is nothing short of a miracle.
To rejoice that new grass covers the once-bare pasture now, and upon close inspection see the tiniest flowers that bloom quietly out there, causes me to feel astonishment that the Creator who made that 800 lb. horse would also create an exquisite flower 1/4th inch in size. I am humble. Any God who would go to the trouble to create a place as cool as our earth is a friend of mine.
For most of my life I have attended church (not regularly during the Montgomery years, thus the sweet Sunday morning experience with the dew on the grass.) Raised as a Protestant, I eventually felt a bit of suspicion at my particular denomination's claims to an exclusive pathway to God. An innate curiosity about other faiths and belief systems led me to several years of intense research, exploration and reading the Bible as well as other religious texts. I discovered two things: each belief system tends to pile on additional rules it's followers come up with, perhaps based originally on their particular religious texts but often they put misdirected importance on minor events or rules.
... the challenge is to wade through the added rules & rituals and find the core belief. And also, God is a lot bigger than any one religion - each religion can be an honest attempt to approach Him, but many of them get derailed or misdirected along the way. I wanted to find the core truth, the identity of Creator I'd been approached by when I was 8.
After considering many avenues, many 'ways' suggested by other people, the one road that has led me to an interactive, interested, impressive Creator is the Bible. Note I don't say my own denomination's teachings! They too have a tendency to make it harder to reach God than it is. Essentially basic Protestant and Catholic religions are differing styles of worship; yes I know they have some radically different teachings, but at their core they all revere the same Christ and the same Creator. The Old Testament is the heart of the Jewish faith and I have come to see that they are (and always will be) the chosen people of God. The OT tells of God's interaction with them; read it, and watch how He sought to show the whole world His power, mercy and love for mankind thru His relationship with the Jewish nation. It is awesome, and a continuing relationship that you will see played out in the media's news reports. Watch Israel, and if you dare really explore what the Bible has to say about that little nation. Present and future events involving them will really raise your eyebrows with amazement, I guarantee!
As a Gentile, and a Christian, the New Testament is particularly relevant for me. No other text has offered me such guidance, such clear and simple guidelines to not only how to live life but what is to come in the future for our nation and the world.
So is the Bible a book of stories? Yes. An account of historical events? Yes again. But a collection of fables and fiction? No, man. It is fact and prophecy, clear guidance for daily life, and an amazing insight into past, present and future events. It is an account of how the Creator I originally sought has been seeking me (and you!) all this time. I guarantee you, explore those pages and you will find the answers to everything you've wondered about.
Come with me and see what it has to say.