If you have ever felt empty you are in the company of all humanity. You can feel empty even when you are surrounded by people. Even when you have everything you thought you would want out of life…A loving spouse, supportive parents, children, a dream job, the car you wished to own when you were younger, a beautiful home you thought you may never be able to afford, great friends, the respect of your peers. Yet for all of this you can still feel empty.
Empty is a surety of life for everyone. It is a part of the human condition we are all born into. No home will every really be home, no look in the mirror will every completely satisfy, no compliment will last for more than a few days at best, no rung on the career ladder will suffice, no love but one will last a lifetime. There is only one thing that fills the void and gives life the kind of meaningful purpose that will cure the empty.
We attempt to fill empty with a lot of things but empty is a black hole that cannot be filled by people, places or things. Our efforts to fill empty are worthy of applause in many cases. We work, educate, apply every self-help principle we can find but empty will not be filled. A lifetime legacy of empty might read:
He/She was determined, ambitious, athletic, talented, loved, often quoted, on time, great work ethic, set record for diet and exercise weekly, a person of good character, kind, willing to help others, remarkable skills in many arenas, inclusive in language and relationships, great cook, amazing driver, admirable parent, enjoyed hanging out with friends and motivating them to succeed….but he/she would often complain of being empty.
Just fill in the blanks with whatever fits your life skills the best. The reason we chase the people, places and things we chase is because we honestly believe one or more of them will fill the empty. Social media has increased our appetite for filling the empty. We look at what others are doing and think we see a person or persons who has figured out how to fill the empty.
Maybe that beautiful place can fill this empty, or that perhaps if I get married, or get my body and mind in better shape. Maybe a new job or career that I would enjoy will be the answer. The rich, the poor and the middle class can all testify that the empty is near impossible to fill. There are moments and brief seasons where we forget the emptiness, but all too soon it returns.
We can point to all the good things around us, talk about all our success but somehow we wind up facing the empty and it reminds me a bit of this passage of scripture in II Kings
“Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but aleper.” (II Kings 5:1)
A great and honorable man, a commander of the army, a man who had experienced great victory. He is described as a mighty man of valor. But he was a leper. That was a death sentence in his day and it also meant he was isolated from others because leprosy was contagious. For all the good things about this man, he had contacted a dreadful disease that would overshadow all his accomplishments.
That’s our story. We can’t fill that emptiness with all our trophies, accomplishments, relationships or anything else. That empty place is reserved for the Jesus. If is useless to try to fill it with anything else. Running on empty is no way to live. In fact it is not life at all, not the kind of life God intended for you.
He alone can give you fulfillment, peace, contentment, rest, purpose and vision to accomplish it. Jesus is waiting for your invitation.