So, I’m trying to figure out which ones I should get rid of, and which ones I should keep. That’s quite a task, and I must admit as I go through them, I see this one and that one, and they all look so interesting. The result: I start reading one that catches my eye and I don’t get around to eliminating any book!
That is what I was doing the other day when I saw a book that caught my eye. The title of the book: “There’s a Hole in Your Soul That Only God Can Fill,” by James Moore. I vaguely recall reading through the book many years ago. But its title grabbed me, so I thought I’d take another look at it.
Part of the reason that particular book struck me was that, just the other day, I had breakfast with a friend who has not been to church in a long while. In our previous conversations, I sensed that he was open to talk about faith.
So, we had breakfast one morning. We talked quite a bit about his experience with church and the Christian faith. It was quite a vigorous conversation with a lot of back and forth. Both of us were quite engaged in talking about the subject.
I don’t think I was talking all that loud, but maybe I was — because, all of a sudden, a rather irritated lady passed by our booth and scolded us for having “a religious discussion,” as she called it. “Can’t you guys keep your church discussion to yourself? You completely ruined my breakfast because I had to listen to that!”
I was shocked! Really? I had ruined her breakfast? Were we talking that loud that she could hear our discussion three booths away? I guess so. I said to my friend, “It looks like somebody is having a bad day!”
I think that is true for a lot of people — their lives are full of frustration, anger and disappointment. Things may not be going well. They are afraid and they simply don’t know what to do. They don’t know where to turn. They may think that they have been given a raw deal in life. So they take their frustration out on someone else.
One of the biggest frustrations people seem to have is a lack of purpose in life. They have no direction, no goal. They feel like they are going around in circles. They’re not getting anywhere.
Sometimes it is just plain old boredom. Life is monotonous. Nothing ever seems to change or get better. And they so much want things to improve in their life. But it doesn’t. In other words, “There’s a hole in their soul that only God can fill.”
Unfortunately, not everyone looks to God to fill that hole. In fact, people will look just about anywhere to fill that emptiness in their soul. They’ll try alcohol or drugs. They’ll sell their bodies and souls. They think riches will satisfy. They try to fill the emptiness in life with expensive houses and snazzy sports cars. But nothing seems to satisfy. There is a hole in their souls that only God can fill.
The reason I bring all this up, is because I am absolutely convinced that it doesn’t have to be that way. Life doesn’t have to be monotonous or futile or wearisome. I believe that life is meant to be something else: something joyous, exciting and “full to the brim.”
That is what Jesus had in mind when he said, “I have come that they might have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Abundant life — a life full and overflowing with meaning, purpose and joy!
The question is: How do we get that kind of life? Mind you, I am not talking about a “perfect life” where everything is always “sugar and spice and all things nice.” Believe me: I know life can be rough. I’ve been there — many times. You get tired of getting knocked down and you feel like “throwing in the towel.” So what do you do? How can you keep on going despite the disappointments and difficulties?
In Colossians 3, the first several verses, the apostle Paul points us in the right direction. He says, “Set your hearts and minds on things above.” How important that is! I know when things are difficult for me, it is natural for me to look down. I know I’ve done this — feeling defeated, I stare down at my shoes. I not only look down, I “feel down.”
But the real antidote is to look up! To set our hearts and minds on things above — spiritual things, eternal things and the God who loves us so much. If you are a believer, you know what I mean. If not, why not come and see for yourself?
St. Augustine had this in mind when he said, “We were made for you, O Lord. And we are restless until we find our rest in you.” I think that, if you are honest, you know deep down that there is a hole in our soul that only God can fill. And when we open up to God, he fills us abundantly.
— The Rev. John Koedyker is the pastor of congregational care at First Reformed Church of Grand Haven.