As I was preparing Emptiness as a sermon, I was surprise to the words and phases used to describe it - a person that is facing emptiness situation when the person feels a lack of meaning or purpose in life, lack of sense of self, emotional numbness or despair, bored with life, lazy, lonely and depressed. Think that many of us can identify with these feelings. I for one, can .. and I thought it was just sian mood ... or just being lazy ... and then it hit me ... why sian and lazy .... cos I feel a sense of emptiness and void inside.. And this begun my search for answers -- why is emptiness there and how then we deal with it?
How do people normally deal with this sense of emptiness? Common ways is just to start filling it with all sorts of activities and things --- from physical chase (money, properties, possessions, shopping, pleasures of life - sex ... wine, various addictions etc) , emotional chase (love, relationships) mental chase (knowledge, power of the mind). King Solomon summarizes the way men fulfilll and deal their emptiness in Ecclesiastes 1 & 2 .... concluding that all activities under the sun is like chasing after the wind, meaningless, meaningless, ie, its empty.
There are three reasons why we feel empty :
a) God created emptiness when He created heavens and earth ... Gen 1 : 1 - 2. Though He created emptiness, He begun to fill it with the splendor of the universe, land, water, plants, animals and men. Everything that He created had a purpose and function, ie, He did not create something to leave it void but to ensure that everything that He created has a purpose .... meaning. Hence, we all need to find out the reason and purpose God created each and everyone of us. Until we find this out, we will be drifting from one end to another, one thing to another and therefore, feels empty.
b) Ecclesiastes 3:11b says that God has placed eternity in us. Meaning, we are created for eternity. Hence, nothing in time and space can fulfill the void in us until Jesus fills us with His eternal life. In a way, I find that this is a build in mechanism to search and thirst after our Eternal God.
c) It is S.A.Tan's method to makes us empty so that he can fill our mind, hearts, life with his desires, thoughts etc .... so that he can control us. His ultimate plan to control us so that he can kill, steal and finally destroy us. However John 10:10 says Jesus came to not only give us life but life more abundantly --- which means Jesus came to fill up our lives ... till it overflows ... and it is never His intention to empty us.
So, how then do we deal with emptiness? King Solomon besides giving a list of empty activities, he also gave us the key to solve emptiness in Ecc 2 : 24 - 26 :
"So I decided there is
nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in
work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? God
gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please Him. But if a
sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those
who please him. This, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind." = the key is God ..... apart from God, one cannot find fulfillment or be full.
Now, the challenging question we need answer is : Can we, who have Jesus eternal life in us and filled by the Holy Spirit feel empty? .... my answer : OFF COURSE!!! and these are my reasons why we still feel empty inside of us sometimes.
1) Looking at the life of King Solomon again, we can find the 1st reason why men feel empty inside though one may have the entire world at the tip of his fingers. Ecc 2:10 gives us the key reason why : Anything
I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great
pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. Here, we can see King Solomon succumb to 3 deadly sins that caused him to turn his heart away from God - the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Once our heart and focus is turn away from God, we will step into emptiness. But we will not know it until we are far far away from God ... cos we will for a moment be very busy with lots of other things .... but at the end, we will realize that the things leave us empty and dry ... like the song goes : Jesus I am weary, won't You come and fill me .. earthy things have left me dry ... only You can satisfy ....
2) Unanswered Prayers according to our ways and our timing
Like a child who does not get what he wants, we can also go on a sulking mode when our prayers and requests are not given, especially when we have been praying over a period of time. When we sulk .... we feel angry with God, reject His presence and feel disappointed or even hurt by God. Emotional weariness and tiredness sets in and draw us away from God, leaving us with the feeling of empty.
3) Physically tired and drained. One cannot deny that when we are too stressed out and drained from the demands of life, work etc, we feel empty inside.
4) Sin, disobedience and pride/arrogance. We know that sin separates us from God and when we do not want to deal with a prolonged sin, and think that it is OK or we are right, this will harden our heart and blots out the presence of God in our lives. Knowing this, David cry out to God to blot out his sin and not to take away His Spirit and presence away from him (Ps 51 : 9 - 12)
5) Finally, emptiness is in us - why? Because we are born in void, in sin we are created, born into emptiness, into hell until Jesus snatched us away from sin and hell and fill us with His LIFE. This means that it is our nature, our flesh man to feel empty. As much as we struggle with our old man, our sinful nature daily, we will also struggle with emptiness constantly because it is part of us.
So, what's the solution to emptiness? Allow me to suggest 3 familiar steps :
1) To come to God again and re-focus our lives once again on God. There is no other way, only God and God alone can fill us and not leave us dry.
2) Mend the leak in our spirit -- now that we know we have emptiness within us, try to identify the reasons of this feeling .... if it is sin that we need to confess and humbly ask Holy Spirit to change us, do so. We need to spent time to connect with ourselves and connect with God once again
3) Eternal life is lived by FAITH and not by sight or emotions. Thus, do not allow emotions control and determine our steps -- after all, emotions come and go .. and hearts can be deceiving. We need to trust His Word and not our emotions. Eph 5:18 ask us to be filled with the Holy Spirit .... go be be filled!
Finally, the good news is .... emptiness, though it is real, it is not to stay, it is not a permanent thing in our lives. It is not eternal when we have the ETERNAL LIFE of Jesus in us! Halleluyah!