IMAGINE you are walking along a dark path late one evening. Although the sun has long since set, you do not feel hopelessly lost, for you have in your hand a powerful flashlight. When you point it downward, you see clearly what is immediately in front of you. And when you point it forward, its piercing beam illuminates your path far into the distance.
In some ways, the Bible is like such a flashlight. As we considered in the preceding articles, God’s Word can help us deal with what is immediately in front of us—the day-to-day problems that we all face in this uncertain world. But the Bible does more. It also provides an illuminating view of the future, enabling us to see and follow a path that leads to lasting happiness and contentment. (Psalm 119:105) How so?
Let us consider two ways in which the Bible gives us a practical hope for the future: 1 It helps us find purpose in life, and 2 it teaches us how to build an eternal friendship with our Creator.
1 PURPOSE IN LIFE
The Bible offers solid advice for dealing with our problems, yet it is far more than a mere self-help book. Rather than encouraging us to focus solely on personal concerns, the Bible teaches us to see ourselves as part of a bigger picture. Only then can our lives have real meaning.
Take, for example, this Bible principle: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) Can you think of a time when you helped someone in need materially? Or perhaps when you gave of yourself by listening as a friend poured out his or her heart? Did you not feel a sense of fulfillment in helping to brighten someone else’s day?
We find the greatest happiness when we give without expecting anything in return. One author noted: “It is virtually impossible to give yourself away without getting back more than you give—provided you give away with no thought of any reward.” Yet, when we give of ourselves—especially to those who have no way of returning the favor—we do receive a reward. We become part of a bigger picture. Indeed, we are working hand in hand with the Creator himself, who views such acts of kindness as a loan made to him. (Proverbs 19:17) He greatly values what we do for the lowly, and he promises to repay us with nothing less than eternal life in a paradise earth—truly a thrilling hope for the future!—Psalm 37:29; Luke 14:12-14.a
Above all, the Bible teaches us that we can find real purpose in life by worshipping the true God, Jehovah. His Word encourages us to give him the praise, honor, and obedience he deserves. (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Revelation 4:11) When we do so, we accomplish something that is astounding to contemplate: We affect our Creator in a positive way. Indeed, he urges us: “Be wise . . . and make my heart rejoice.” (Proverbs 27:11) Just think—when we wisely make decisions based on the principles set out in the Bible, we bring joy to the heart of our loving heavenly Father. Why? Because he cares for us and wants us to benefit ourselves by following his guidance. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) Really, what greater purpose could we have than to worship the Sovereign of the universe and live in a way that brings joy to his heart?
2 FRIENDSHIP WITH OUR CREATOR
The Bible also teaches us to build a friendship with our Creator. “Draw close to God,” the Scriptures say, “and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) At times we may doubt whether it is truly possible to be friends with the almighty Creator. But the Bible assures us that if we “seek God,” we will “really find him,” for “he is not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27) The Bible’s advice on becoming a friend of God is highly practical for our future. In what way?
Consider: Try as we may, none of us on our own can escape the ultimate enemy—death. (1 Corinthians 15:26) However, God is eternal. He will never die, and he wants his friends to live forever as well. Using the following simple yet beautiful words, the Bible expresses what Jehovah wants for those seeking him: “May you enjoy life forever.”—Psalm 22:26.
How can you build such an eternal friendship with God? Keep learning about him through the pages of his Word, the Bible. (John 17:3; 2 Timothy 3:16) Seek his help to understand the Scriptures. The Bible assures us that if we sincerely “keep asking God” for wisdom, he will grant it to us.b (James 1:5) Finally, strive to apply what you learn, letting God’s Word serve as both “a lamp to [your] foot” and a “light for [your] path”—now and throughout eternity.—Psalm 119:105.
a For more information about God’s promise of everlasting life in Paradise, see chapter 3 of the book What Can the Bible Teach Us? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
God is eternal, and he wants his friends to live forever as well