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All over the world, people live with no sense of direction. They live and die without ever really knowing the reason for their existence—why they were born and what they're supposed to do with their lives.
Let me tell you about an experience I had several years ago that made a great impact on me. I was invited to hold a series of meetings for three days in the nearby Russian city of Pskov.

Instead of spending hours flying on a plane to Moscow and then catching another plane to Pskov, my associate and I decided to drive the distance from Riga to Pskov. We looked forward to seeing the countryside along the way.

After four hours of driving, we finally arrived at the Latvian border, where we expected to cross over into Russia. To our surprise, travelers were not allowed to use this particular border crossing, so the border guard directed us to another crossing about thirty kilometers away.

However, in order to get there, we had to drive the bumpiest, most difficult roads I've ever encountered anywhere in the world. Those thirty kilometers took hours!

But when we finally reached our destination, we were told we couldn't cross over into Russia there either! The border guards directed us to a third border crossing. After another four grueling hours of driving, we finally reached a border that had a custom's post, where we were allowed to pass from Latvia into Russia.

As my associate and I drove along the Latvian/Russia border that afternoon, we were shocked by what we saw. We live in Riga, the capitol of Latvia, a city that is recovering from years of Soviet occupation and is actually starting to bloom and prosper.

No Work, No Purpose, No Vision
But as we drove along the Latvian border that afternoon, I was taken back in my memories to those hard times in 1991 when the Soviet people had no hope.

The towns we passed looked like they were dying. People wore black and gray clothing. The buildings looked gray. The clouds looked oppressive. Every face we passed along the street seemed to wear a blank stare.

Even the mildest form of a facial expression was rare. Young men not even twenty years old stumbled down the streets all day long - mornings, afternoons, and evenings - under the influence of vodka.

Because of the economic woes that had hit those small towns, every factory we passed was closed. Windows were broken out. Parking lots were piled high with old, rusted junk. It was an ecological nightmare.

Entire villages were unemployed. Tall, Soviet-style apartments were filled with tenants who had no jobs and no income - not even enough money to buy bread to feed their families or to purchase clothes for their children.

Highly educated people now scurried here and there to peddle goods from their homes, trying to scrape a little money together so they could buy enough food to keep themselves and their families alive.

These people had no work, no purpose, no reason to even get up in the morning. It was "survival of the fittest" in the truest sense of the word.

Desperation is the word that kept coming to my mind as we passed through these border villages. The people we drove past that day had lost every reason for living. When the great, mighty Soviet dream collapsed and died, it had left them with no foundation, no goal or sense of direction, no purpose, no identity.

With this gaping vacancy in their souls and no jobs in sight to provide some glimmer of hope, many of the people turned to the bottle to drown their overwhelming misery. It was a Soviet wasteland, a nightmare more horrible than the screenwriter of a disaster movie could ever conceive in his wildest imaginations.

I kept thinking, "If I lived here without God, I'd have lost my reason for living too." Without the hope of Jesus Christ, I might have even turned to the bottle to drown my miseries, just as many of these people have.

These precious people hadn't turned to alcohol with the goal of becoming alcoholics. It was just the only way they knew how to cope with the disaster they were experiencing in their lives.

I felt such emotion wash over me as my heart broke for these downhearted souls. When I looked in their faces, I saw what they were feeling:
  • Hopelessness
  • Purposelessness
  • Desperation
  • Downheartedness
  • Pointlessness
  • Abandoned
  • Discarded
  • Heartache
It shook me as we passed by each village. I cried inside for these people whom God had created to be something special in this world. Yet the uniqueness, the special individuality that God created each one of them to express, had been lost in a sea of disappointment.

I have an apostolic call to the people of the former USSR. This is why my heart especially beats and bleeds for them and their spiritual condition. But this problem of purposelessness is not unique to the nations of the former Soviet Union.

Every City, Every Nation, Every Village
All over the world, people live with no sense of direction. They live and die without ever really knowing the reason for their existence - why they were born and what they're supposed to do with their lives.

This is true of people in every nation, city, and village in the world. It is even true of believers when they don't understand how to discover and follow God's plan for their lives.

Of the millions of letters I receive from television viewers around the world, the number-one category of questions people ask reflects this widespread sense of purposelessness. They ask:
  • "What am I supposed to be doing with my life?"
  • "How can I know God's will?"
  • "Does God really want to use me?"
  • "Am I fit to be used by God in some special way?"
It doesn't matter what their country of origin is, what language they speak, or from what financial and political background they've come, human beings want to know why they were placed on this earth. They want to know what God wants them to do and how to get started doing it.

Copyright © Rick Renner Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Rick Renner
Web site: Rick Renner Ministries
Rick and Denise met while they were each on an individual quest to wholeheartedly follow God’s plan for their lives. Rick was a college student, growing in his teaching ministry. Denise was a talented vocalist. She chose not to pursue a course that held the prospect of performing with the Metropolitan Opera so that she could instead pursue a relationship with Rick and fulfill her heart’s desire to enter full-time ministry.

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