Many of us are plagued by a sense within ourselves we can not quite put our finger on. It can cause distress or uneasiness that something is not right. This can be quite heavy at times. The modern lifestyle is filled with anxieties of every kind. We attempt to answer this in a myriad of ways. Some of them can be outright harmful to us, while others are an attempt to distract. We fill our lives with so much noise as though wishing to avoid the deep part of our hearts. We may even blame inner turmoil on external things, such as bad marriages, difficult people, and bitterness with those who have hurt or mistreated us.
Have you ever felt restless deep inside, in a place that seems unreachable? Augustine of Hippo wrote, "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." This emptiness is likened to a void that only God can fill. When our lives feel barren of meaning it can lead to a great deal of despondency. Because only God can satisfy our need, we are left broken and disillusioned with all the things we seek to fill it with. Today many try to erase any longing for meaning with secular philosophies and gather to themselves every scientific notion that seem to render unimportant even considering the weightier things in life. The distractions or promised fulfillment we pursue apart from God are described as "vanity of vanities" in Ecclesiastes. If we reflect as we look inside ourselves, we know it is all emptiness or sad attempts in the end, no matter how we try to manage. How tiring it is attempting to just deal with life, simply enduring, and that is all.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism states a very important truth. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever”. As you read the unfolding redemptive story of Scripture, you see that this is what we are created for. Only God can fill this void, in the person of Christ. We can not meet this deepest need on our own. Nothing we try to fill it with can meet our longing. Religious notions of one’s own attempts at striving or a Christ of vague subjective ideas will also leave us unfulfilled. Every religion of man is an attempt to surmount the problem of meaning and sin by our own bootstraps, to define God or some kind of salvation on our own terms. Before a Holy God this can not be done. We are fallen in sin, with hands that are empty. What can a man or woman give God? We are left bare and helpless. The only way to be free is to come to the living Christ, to accept the free gift of Jesus Himself. In the Savior we find God with us, dying for the lost, and raised in overcoming power.
It is humbling when we finally see we need God, that our own way is completely off target and self serving. We blame God for our problems as if we know better than He, or are somehow wiser. We seek every answer, idea, or new thing that fancies, except the central truth we try to avoid. Yet, in all this He still loves us with mercy beyond imagination.
We wander, sometimes far indeed, until Redemption is received. How wonderful to have this emptiness filled. The security and completeness of ones self is in He who fashioned us. It is a joy beyond anything one could express. It is not too good to be true, or a nice story or idea. In this free acceptance of God we rejoice ever more daily in Christ’s unbounded love. Praise God for the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.
Artwork© Jeffrey M Green.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.
That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:9.
This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. 1 John 4:10.
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:35.