“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Below is a story that I read recently in Anthony Robbins' book, Awaken the Giant
Within that exemplifies Nietzsche's words.
Nazis stormed into Stanislavsky Lech’s home, arrested him and his entire family, and sent them to a death camp in Krakow. Soon after, Lech’s family was shot before his eyes and his son was murdered in a gas chamber. Somehow, Lech continued living. He was forced to work as a laborer clearing dead bodies from the camp. Soon after his imprisonment, Lech looked at the horror around him and decided that he must escape.
Escaping from the death camp became Lech’s sole purpose in life, his obsession. Every thought, every step, every action revolved around answering the question, “How can I escape?” You might think that everyone stuck in this nightmare would share Lech’s obsession to escape, but most prisoners seemed to have lost their purpose of living. For weeks Lech asked the other prisoners, “How can we escape this horrible place?” The answers he received were always the same: “Don’t be a fool, there is no escape.” or “Don’t torture yourself, just work hard and pray you survive.” But Lech wouldn’t accept it. One day, while being forced to clean the gas chambers, he saw a huge pile of bodies that had been shoveled into the back of a truck.
Instead of asking, “How could the Nazis be so evil? How could God allow this?
Why me?,” Lech asked, “How can I use this to fulfill my purpose?"
As the end of the day neared and the work party headed back into the barracks, Lech ducked behind the truck, ripped off his clothes, and dove naked into the pile of bodies. He remained completely still and pretended to be dead even as he was crushed by more and more bodies heaped on top of him. He was surrounded by the smell of rotting flesh and the rigid remains of other dead prisoners. After several torturous hours of waiting, Lech heard the truck’s engine starting. Soon, the truck stopped and dumped its cargo into a giant open grave outside the camp. Lech remained there for many more hours until nightfall. Then, when he was sure no one was there, he climbed out of the mountain of dead bodies and ran naked 25 miles to freedom.
The above story exemplifies a significant point: A strong purpose in life will save your life. For Stanislavsky, his burning desire to escape, is the one thing that separated him from the other prisoners in camp.
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul said that he could face an uncertain future by reaching toward the purposes of God for his life. "Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead ... (Phil. 3:13).
I know so many people today whose lives are filled with utter hopelessness. Wealthy, poor, and everyone in between; all due to being out of tune with their Creator's purpose for their lives.
If this is you, and you need to talk, I am at Northminster Presbyterian Church in New Castle and I am also on Facebook. Feel free to drop me a line.