I recently completed an 8 mile hike – out of shape and on an empty stomach. As I caught myself wondering if I would ever reach the top several hikers passed me on their way back down the mountain. “You’re close”, they reassured but close didn’t feel close enough. I was so ready to be done.
As I acknowledged by own impatience, discouragement, and frustration I suddenly related to the Israelites. How miserable must it have been wandering in the dessert for 40 years, knowing the end was not yet in sight? I’ve been much like the Israelite at times. God has offered me promises that I’ve refused to take hold of. Instead, my choices have left me wandering in circles chasing after the wind. How many times have I walked away from God’s plan for me looking to fulfill my own desires? Each time I found that futility was my reward. Each time I sought worldly “fulfillment” I found emptiness instead. Oh, how I remember the emptiness. An empty stomach doesn’t begin to compare to an empty spirit.
There is a statue in Switzerland that can be found in a small park along the shore of Lake Geneva. I don’t know that words can capture its haunting depiction of emptiness and grief. As a widower, the artist who created it, Albert György, was no stranger to loss. His sculpture depicts a person, head hung low seeming to look though a gaping hole in their own chest, seeing the world from a position of looking back on it though their own emptiness.
Grief, shame, rejection, worldly pursuits…so many things we experience in this life leave us feeling empty. What can mend us? Can anything fill such an emptiness? Yes, my friend there is hope. Jesus mends the broken heart. He fills the empty spirit. He redeems and restores. Jesus came to give us eternal life and life abundant.
A relationship with Jesus means that the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us, fill up the empty space, commune with us, guide us and give us hope for the future God has prepared for us. We try to fill our emptiness with so many things – drugs, alcohol, possessions, human relationships but only the Holy Spirit of God can fill the God-shaped hole inside of us. Do you feel the emptiness? An unspoken sadness as if there is a loss you can’t quite explain? Ask God to fill you to overflowing with His Spirit then to guide you in His path for you that you might walk closely together in the purpose for which you were created.