When I was younger I remember asking my youth pastor how people could be happy when they didn't believe in God. Why wouldn't the Creator of us all build in a sense of there being something missing? I remember his reply: "You can ignore God and be happy… as long as you don't ask certain questions." The questions he was referring to were questions like: "What is the purpose of my life?" "What makes me valuable?"
Over the years I've come to the conclusion that these are questions that people are actually wrestling with, but often without ever bringing them to the surface and talking about them. In the absence of truly satisfying answers to these questions people have substituted the pursuit of money, pleasure, relationships, possessions, job success, entertainment, popularity (and so on).
The big problem is that none of these substitute answers actually convince our questioning hearts. And the result is a disease called hopelessness, or futility. We chase all of these things and… it's a let-down. This hopelessness is rampant in our society and is taking a huge toll.
Which is why the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes is, I believe, a must-read for us today (being in the Bible is another good reason!). This book diagnoses our society's sickness by helping us to put words to it and feel it deeply. And in the midst of the pain there is a thread of hope - a divine prescription. It's not an easy read but it's an essential read. So go on, give Ecclesiastes a go!