Monday, March 24, 2008


"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."
-Matthew 5:6

Empty. It's not a comfortable word, is it? Emptiness is a feeling and a state of being that all of us try to avoid. Emptiness also creates a desire in us to do something about be be filled. Hunger is an emptiness in our stomach that creates a desire to satisfy ourselves with food, but emptiness goes beyond the physical.

If emptiness occurs in one's career, it results in a desire to do something different. Maybe I'll go back to school, start my own business, or rethink how I approach work so that it's not just a J-O-B. If there is an emptiness in family life, then there's a desire for things to change. Maybe I'll use family time more wisely on the weekends, begin family devotions at least once a week, coach one of my children's teams, or simply keep my promise to leave the office when I say I will. Emptiness in marriage results in a desire for more satisfaction...maybe from turning off the TV and actually talking to my wife, going away on vacation (just the two of us) to retreat and regroup, or just taking small, intentional steps to be more sensitive to her needs on a daily and weekly basis. Embracing our emptiness seems to be the first step toward satisfaction.

It sounds backwards...who are we kidding? It is backwards, but isn't that what Jesus is saying in Matthew 5? Those who are void of righteousness and embrace that by being hungry and thirsty for it...those are the ones who will be satisfied. The problem with embracing emptiness, though, is it means admitting weakness. It means I'm not the only person I need, and that flies in the face of our culture's view of man. We have become extremely individualistic in our society. In fact, the very idea that my satisfaction is based on something outside me is offensive because it takes me out of the center of my universe.

However, whether we like it or not, we all start life empty, and too many of us live our whole lives empty. To paraphrase something that French philosopher Blaise Pascal said, there is an emptiness in the lives of all men and women. How we choose to try and fill that emptiness will determine the course of our lives and the course of our eternity. People try to fill this emptiness with money, cars, houses, having another child, having another mistress, education, drugs, casual sex, going to church, giving to the Salvation Army, and lots of other things. Ultimately, these things...even sinful things...may give temporary satisfaction, but they won't last. If God graces you with conviction, you will lie in your bed, stare at the ceiling, and say something like this: "What am I doing with my life? Where am I headed? Is this really all there is? I feel so empty."

It is at this point, with the ceiling offering no answers, that you are best prepared to have your soul satisfied. Denying your emptiness would be a denial of reality, but embracing your emptiness will send you on a journey to find your satisfaction. In order for that journey to be successful, it must end at another empty empty tomb. You see, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is the source and substance of our soul's satisfaction. When we embrace the emptiness of the tomb of Jesus, we find satisfaction for our souls and our life. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead [the emptiness of the tomb], you will be saved" (Rom. 10:9).

So, Pascal was right on...there is an emptiness in every life. And he was right when he said the's an emptiness that only God can fill. Don't look for the satisfaction of your soul anywhere other than in the person of Jesus Christ. Embrace your emptiness...embrace the fact that every effort to try and fill it apart from Jesus is empty...embrace the emptiness of Christ's satisfied with Jesus.