Christian speakers today fill their mouths with words expounding on the God-shaped hole residing somewhere in our gut that will be satiated once we find Jesus. It sounds nice, I suppose, but the trouble is that this God-shaped hole is pure fiction.
We need someone to be honest, and so, I will go first.
The void in my soul has been chasing me, desperate to be filled my entire life. And then I got saved. And I still had an aching, a longing that nothing seemed to keep at bay.
I've tried traveling, because my heart tells me it will be happy if only we visit the streets of Baltimore I used to frequent, so I get in the car and run my hands along the brick-walled alley ways, and yet still, my soul feels empty.
I've sat at the dinner table, filling myself with buttered seafood and crusty bread or any other thing my palate desires, but it has only left me emptier than before I began.
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I've tried praying, writing, fasting, going to church services, because the preachers tell me the emptiness will leave me, drifting away like a smoke rings in the air if I only trust Jesus.
But I've already trusted Jesus.
But it didn't work to send the darkness away.
So, I ask Him to save me again.
The hole keeps asking to be fed, it beckons me like a starving dog.
Why don't I have Jesus, I wonder?
Why can't I have Jesus?
Isn't the gospel for all who call upon the name of the Lord?
And yet, I have done that. Dozens and dozens of times, in fact.
I can't tell anyone. They'll tell me contentment comes with knowing Jesus. And I wander on longing for the past and yet fearing hell will come for me at any moment since I can't seem to ever get saved.
But now I know that this isn't true. And the truth is that they know it, too.
Because now they're saying something like this: if nothing on earth satisfies us, it is because we are made for another world. Ahhh, changing the script, are we?
Some are catching on to the fact that you can have heaven within you and still feel like hell, itching and burning in your skin. That's why they'll put fulfillment off on the horizon for another day, another time.
Perhaps we should ditch the talk about feelings altogether, and I'll tell you why.
Salvation is something we've packaged like a sales pitch. Got a void? Check! Want to feel better? Check! Get saved! Huh?
Salvation is the cure to the death sentence sin has placed around our necks. We stand convicted of crimes against God, and yet, He sent His Son as both the payment and the attorney arguing for our release. We accept the restitution He made, and we go off Scott free.
There is nothing about feelings or voids or longings in the contract for your soul. And so we go on, saying a sinner's prayer but then hiding our tendency to wander away from God's throne in search of a Krispy Creme donut or pornography. And then we feel ashamed and like hypocrites, and we see, as no one around us seems to struggle, but the closer we get, the more we realize their masks are painted on better than ours will ever be.
It's a facade, a game we're all playing, and I implore us to stop, please stop. Please tell the truth. You don't have a God-shaped hole. You have a need for salvation. Jesus is bigger than your feelings, and He didn't die so that you would feel better. He died so that you would live, and living is sometimes still hard.
We should talk about grace instead. Oh, how He gives grace. That when your life is exploding with troubles with no end, you have a sense of peace that everything is alright and that the equation will somehow add up. It isn't a feeling. It is peace, and there is a vital distinction.
In other words, you can have your salvation and still have depression, anxiety, and all the rest. It's because, as human beings, we are a conglomeration of neurons, firing synapses, memories, and recollections of bad jokes from old Seinfeld episodes. We are finite and made from the dust, and we. Are. Going. To Have. Troubles.
Jesus even said as much.
We're also trying to ease problems that may have their root cause in something else like trauma, bad diet, or neglect by accepting the gospel, as if getting saved is the end all to our crumbling humanity.
We may need a doctor or a shrink or an exercise program, and sometimes, we need to ignore the pestering feelings of FOMO and longing for a mirage to stop feeling so driven.
So, please, let's not sell Jesus short, and let's not turn believers into neurotics who think they cannot get saved enough to make the longing take a hike.
Jesus is sweet, He is eternal, He is righteousness, He is our peace, our Savior, our friend, our everlasting redeemer. He is our comforter, our mighty counselor, and nothing short of the name that is above every other name.
Let's be real enough to just tell the truth, and maybe, the world will want to listen.
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