Or do we? Don't we have to back off sometimes. I know I'm usually like "maximum effort all of the time!" But hey, I'm realistic too.
The wonderful NY Times columnist and author the late Christopher Hitchens said one of his guiding slogans was: 'if it doesn't kill me, it makes me stronger.' But when he contracted a fatal illness and his body and strength wore down he realized that his slogan didn't hold.
So what's the answer?
Well that's what this post is all about. And I won't draw this out any longer. The "answer" is that we CAN'T know the answer.
Think about it. You know how many smart people there have been in the world. Do you know how thoughtfully they've experimented and scrutinized and speculated--and come up empty.
Many people think King Solomon in the Old Testament was the wisest man who ever lived. (With me it's a toss-up between him and Dr. Phil.) (That was a joke, in case you didn't get it.) Well, good old King Solomon wrote a book in the Bible called Ecclesiastes. Oh, you've never heard of it, you say. Yes, you have. At least parts of it. Sound familiar?
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to...
I thought you knew it. But anyway that's not the passage I'm thinking about. It's this passage when he says:
When I applied my mind to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night one's eyes see sleep; then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out; even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.
And that's the thing: God has set this world up so we will never be able to figure it out. Oh, you think, but if we really think hard enough... Nope. It can't be done.
And this isn't a call to resignation. It's a call to reality. Acknowledging that although we may have an awful lot of answers and understanding of how life works, we still come up way short and always will.
So live your life, max out on your effort, seek understanding with everything you've got, but do it with the deeper wisdom that the ultimate answers in life are unattainable.