One of the most common refrains we hear from those who have reached the pinnacle of success is that of the emptiness that still stalks their lives, all their successes notwithstanding. That sort of confession is at least one reason the question of meaning is so central in life’s pursuit. Although none like to admit it, what brings purpose in life for many, particularly in countries rich in enterprising opportunities, is a higher standard of living, even if it means being willing to die for it. Yet, judging by the remarks of some who have attained those higher standards, there is frequently an admission of disappointment.
Jack Higgins, the renowned author of “The Eagle Has Landed,” has said that what he had known as a small boy was this: “When you get to the top, there’s nothing there.” (Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, (Word Pub., Dallas: 1994), p. 56.
Since the dawn of time, people have yearned to fill the emptiness within. Too often it’s their first inclination to reach for worldly things to fill the void. They think, “If I just had more money, then I will feel complete.” “If I take these drugs then the emptiness will vanish.” “If I give into his request for sex, then I won’t feel so lonely.” “If I follow the worldly narrative then I’ll feel accepted.”
What people eventually learn is that, these kind of worldly promises more often then not fall short of their desired results. The money is never enough, the drugs take more than they gave, the sex only makes one feel lonelier and the worldly acclaim we wanted only made us angrier.
Jesus came to end the emptiness. He came to welcome us into a family who will never desert us and that will last forever in the very best of circumstances. He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Jesus knew the shortcomings of worldliness, so He came in human form to show us a better way. Despite us grasping for worldly solutions to solve the emptiness, He came to give His life so that we had something much more promising to hold onto. In love He sacrificed Himself so that we might feel whole. “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Yet, we persist on trying it our own way, even knowing in our heart that “There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12). Despite God’s invitation, we resist accepting because the devil’s whispers overcome the rational. Even knowing that Christ came to bring us purpose and meaning, we acquiesce to the drumbeat of worldliness.
We are in those times sited in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but, having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
To fill their emptiness, in their panic people will search out for people who say what they want to hear. Trying to verify their attempts at worldly fulfillment, they will perk their ears toward those giving them reason for the decisions that have so far let them down. The good will become bad and the bad will become good in a desperate attempt to qualify their earthly endeavors to fill the hole in their hearts.
To those people I say that Christ had made a path for you that leads all the way to heaven. He has become that person by which you may lay down your burdens and fill the emptiness that you have carried for so long. Trust in God and not on worldly things that will leave you feeling incomplete. “Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself, for emptiness will be his payment. It will be paid in full before his time, and his branch will not be green” (Job 15:31-32).
Let Jesus Christ fill the emptiness inside. Let the Holy Spirit guide you to fulfillment. Surrender to the only one who can truly fill the God shaped hole in your heart by giving you purpose and meaning. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for filling the emptiness within us with Your compassion and love. Teach us to share how others might find the same. Amen.