The Surprising Solution to Emptiness

Sunday, August 6, 2017

It was a regular Thursday morning; my alarm clock was going off and Chemistry class was just around the corner. As my eyes glossed over the ceiling, I pondered how empty life had seemed at that time. No matter what I did, it seemed impossible to get out of the rut; I knew Jesus had more for me than just scraping by, day in and day out. Bu there was a continual pang in my heart; life was not going at all how I had expected it to. And here was one more day of pain ahead. How could I become free from all the struggling and emptiness that seemed to be a mark of my life?

Lord, please make me feel better.

I asked, not entirely sure if my circumstances would ever improve--with some family things going on, and a situation with the church I attended. Life felt like one long cycle of doing so well for a bit, then issues coming up that seemed to strip me of all strength.

"Why do I feel empty? Why doesn't life seem amazing like it used to?" These thoughts swirled in my head.

I didn't know it at the time, but God had already answered my questions. He is so kind; He gives us all we need for life and godliness. The more I dwelt on my circumstances and the issue at hand, the more my life seemed meaningless. But when I lifted my eyes to the One who died for me, and trust that He does work all things together for my good and His glory, the perspective can be altogether different. When life goes downhill, our Savior does not. He is unshaken, no matter the storm or tempest.

What if when life got hard or seemed empty, instead of  dwelling on everything we would change if we could, we instead lived knowing of His worthiness. "Yes this is hard, but you, my Lord, are able!" When the storms of life come, they have a great way of exposing where we are standing. If I am standing on the Rock (Jesus), then no matter the difficulty, I may remain unshaken. Not because I am strong, but because He is!

"The LORD is my defense; and my God is the Rock of my refuge" (Psalm 94:22).

A sense of emptiness ought to remind us that our purpose on earth isn't to have a nice, predictable life, where everything goes just how we hoped. It should drive us to the foot of the Cross; reminding us of our desperate need for Jesus. If we're trying to live life on our own strength, there will be no victory. Victory comes in full surrender to Jesus Christ and dependence upon Him. It's grasping that I'm just a branch. I need to lean into the Vine for all the sustenance I have need of; He knows my needs better than anyone else, and at His feet is where every desire is satisfied.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me // John 15:4

Sometimes we feel empty because we have been turning inward. Unlike the message of the culture today, which tells us to preserve our strength for a time of our own need, God calls us to pour out all we are for His glory, honor, and praise. In Isaiah, we find a secret to being released from a sense of meaninglessness: "If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:10-11).

Often we feel empty when we are living in a way that does not honor Him. Have I laid down my own agenda and dreams at the foot of the cross today? This day Jesus Christ is worthy of my life, and if I am living in that way, then the things that burden His heart will also burden mine.

Today I am in Christ, and today old Cassidy is crucified with Him. For me to live is Christ.

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