8.17.2011

Filling up the Hole

2004_03_15_-_07_-_Trusselbilde There’s a hole in the heart of every man. No one particularly likes it. It gnaws, from way down deep. A nagging concern. An incompleteness that hangs out just below the level of consciousness in that place between sleeping and wakefulness. Lying in our beds, we are sometimes seized with the uncomfortable questions that we suppress during the clamor of our days – if this isn’t all there is, what then?

So we like to put stuff in the hole to take our minds off that question. We fill it up with things, the way sand can fill up cracks in the sidewalk for a time. Our jobs, our families, our leisure time, our possessions, our preoccupation with entertainment, sports, and culture – so much stuff that our hole gets full to the brim, it seems. We like it that way. No room left for the questions. We’re quite full, thank you very much. No room here in our inns.

But what’s this? A raindrop. A steady drizzle. An all-out gully washer of hard times. And the grains of sand filling up the cracks in our sidewalk are slowly washed away. The hole is there once again. Empty and raw. It’s in those times that we become acutely aware of those nagging questions which get louder. It becomes much harder to shove them aside.

The philosopher Pascal said that there is a God-shaped hole in all of us. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has set eternity in the hearts of people. So when God fills us up, what does he fill us with? Hope. Not the generic brand of hope favored by politicians, the murky and undefined “hope” that somehow humanity will make the world better if everybody tries really hard. Not simply the “positive-attitude” hope that we can reach for with all of our earthly might.

What I mean is a forever hope, an assurance that no matter what happens, our future…our destiny…is secure.

“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls” (Hebrews 6:18-19). Apart from Jesus, humanity bounces around like a ball in a pinball machine, seeking fulfillment in everything but Him. But the hope that He brings is an anchor, secure through the fiercest storms because it’s grounded in the perfect love of God – the weightiest and most immovable force the world has ever known. Nothing can separate us from it. No one can snatch us out of His mighty hand when he takes hold of us. “Draw near to God,” James 4:8 says, “and He will draw near to you.”SANY0268

In the center of that kind of love…the kind that never dies, never deserts, never betrays…the compulsion to fill the hole with the things that never satisfy disappears. They lose their luster and fall away like flower petals that were once lovely but have become wilted and brown. The hole, once empty and raw, is now whole. The struggles of life never disappear, but the difference is that real, authentic hope is now there in the person of Christ. He does not let go. Not at the first raindrop…not during a drizzle…and not even during the gully washers that are sure to come. On this drifting, dark, desperate planet, there is an Anchor. And it holds.

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