You know these people. People who have to constantly keep putting things on the calendar. Planning more trips because there can’t be any gaps on the calendar. Buying different cars. Loading the kids up with activities. Making big life changes like moving on a consistent basis. Planning more. Changing more stuff. Buying more stuff. Getting rid of stuff to make room for new stuff. Constant home improvement projects when nothing was really wrong with what it looked like before but they just weren’t happy with it. Electronic upgrading every couple of months. I am exhausted just thinking about it. They exhaust themselves and wonder why they are so exhausted all the time. I think about a Hamster on a wheel. The Hamster never gets anywhere, right? I think I can safely say that many of us suffer from chronic unsatisfaction with our lives. Why do we need to change everything all the time? Why do we need to constantly be going somewhere or doing something entertaining? I feel like I am on to something with this answer: because we are afraid if we have too much time to think about our lives and how we are spending it then we will actually have to face the black hole that exists inside us. SO we fill it. We keep filling it. More stuff! But what we find is that nothing will ever fit into the hole permanently. Nothing will ever give us that sense of peace we desire. Addiction is something else that gets put into that hole…more and more gets dumped in there but there’s not enough drugs or alcohol to fill it either.
When you finally stop running, filling, stuffing, pouring, dumping, buying, planning, drinking, pill taking, shopping, and trying to educate yourself on how to make God not exist, all we are left with is a square-shaped peg for a round God shaped hole. I did all of this. I filled, bought, drank, planned, and just HOPED that someday I would find contentment. But what I realized is that all we get is the day after Christmas feeling. Do you know what feeling I am talking about? We build up Christmas all month (or in the case of Americanized Christmas, 2 months) long. Then the day is finally here and it is filled with joy, happiness and love…temporarily. The next morning we wake up and there is a lack of joy. It is a deep nagging emptiness that we must acknowledge although we tend to cover it up by planning a trip, shopping, getting back to work, or creating some other illusion of happiness. And what I have found is that we will never be satisfied. Our nature is to continue to externally search for something beyond ourselves to find it. But we want to see it, touch it, experience it in order for it to be real. Faith is belief in what is unknown, the unseen, and being ok with not knowing the outcome. And to believe in God we have to understand that God is immaterial not material. He is spirit. My pastor made this point on Sunday that God is spirit and we must accept Him as that. The Israelites kept trying to look for a material God…something they could see and worship, statues that would satisfy that need and God, on purpose, is not those things. He is not a material being so we will learn not to make idols on earth and take the place of faith. You have to fight for Faith. You have to go against what we, in our sinful nature, want to do: to create something tangible that we can focus on. The thing about God and filling this hole with Him, is that what we finally experience the fullness that this new life in Christ gives us. We experience REAL peace. And it is permanent. Not manufactured, material, earthly, temporary peace. The search is over. Our purpose is found. And a whole new life, a new journey begins and we can face it all because we have a hope of eternity in our soul. There is no greater experience on earth than the transformation of belief. It doesn’t make you a perfect person and in fact, the Christian life is not for the weak. C.S. Lewis said, “If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity”. If one of the greatest theologians in recent times made that statement, then that says it all. And if it is really comfortable, if you never seem to go through anything, if nothing is getting thrown at you, if no challenges are in your way, if you are in a constant state of “smooth sailing” then you might want to question what you actually believe.
Every once in a while I hear people talking about losing their religion. I always find the circumstances of what led them to that point to be interesting. It is usually the same answer: “I stopped believing in God because He didn’t answer my prayer” or the answer came but not in the way that they wanted it. If the expectation is to get what you ask for, then you have signed on for the wrong belief and you probably will leave your “religion”. Because it’s not about what we want, when we want it, and on our terms. I didn’t ask for a husband with alcohol dependency. But that is what I got and now that I have been down this road of sobriety with Him for 3 years I can’t imagine my life being fuller or richer now because of my belief that God had a greater purpose for all of this heartache. He absolutely knows what He is doing and faith is saying that you fully surrender to the journey.