The God-Shaped Vacuum
"His [God's] purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist."1
Years ago Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) insightfully said, "What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself."
This is true and vital but I would dare to suggest that it doesn't present the entire picture for, as Pascal also said, "There is a God-shaped vacuum [or cup, as I like to put it] in the heart" of all of us, there is also a people-shaped cup. And while our God-shaped cup needs to be filled with the love of God, our people-shaped cup needs to be filled with the love of people.
If either one of these cups is empty, life can feel void and meaningless. And then we seek to fill the void within and deaden the pain of our empty lives with things, endless activities, seeking approval, super-busyness, illicit sex, alcohol, drugs and stuff, stuff, and more stuff and, at least here in the West, we are left longing in the midst of a land of plenty.
The fact is that God has created us for relationships both with himself and each other. It has been rightfully said that 80 percent of life's satisfaction comes from the quality of our relationships. Without loving relationships we limp along in the shadows of life and will most likely die long before our time. While it may not be desirable, we can live without romantic love but we cannot live healthily without healthy loving relationships with at least one or two—and preferably more—other persons.
Furthermore, without a meaningful relationship with God, there is a deep sense of spiritual emptiness of the soul. When God created mankind, he created us with the capacity to communicate with him, to be connected to him in spirit. The tragedy is that when sin entered the human race, we were separated or disconnected from God. But because God loved us he sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for all our sins so we could be fully forgiven and be reconnected to God and then, through Jesus, get our God-cup or god-shaped vacuum filled.
Note: To begin a spiritual connection/relationship with God, be sure to read the article, "How to Know God and be sure you're a real Christian without having to be religious" online at: www.actsweb.org/christian.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to develop healthy, loving relationships both with you and with others. And please reveal to me if there are any barriers in my life that might be hindering either one of these relationships. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Acts 17:27-28 (TLB)(NLT).