“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” ~St Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
One of the things I love about being part of the human race is that God has created each of us to be uniquely different. We each have different gifts and skills, different ways of thinking and being. We are most definitely “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).
And even though we are all very different, we all have one thing in common– we are looking for love.
I don’t mean romantically, although that may be true for some of us. I mean unconditional love and acceptance.
Pop quiz– Where do we receive love and acceptance, given freely with no strings attached…?
Jesus loves and welcomes all people– regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, past sins or mistakes. You name a wall that humans have made to separate humans from one another, and Jesus breaks all of those walls down. You are accepted and loved by Jesus, no matter what.
Many times, we have a hard time realizing this amazing love. Maybe it’s because we don’t think we deserve it. Maybe it’s because it’s just so different from every other experience we’ve ever had in life. Maybe it’s because those who raised us were extremely strict and didn’t live out unconditional love. Whatever the reason, Jesus’ love and acceptance is typically forgotten, disbelieved, or not acknowledged or known.
And when that happens, we have a God-shaped hole in us. What usually happens when there’s a void? We tend to want to fill it.
We typically try to fill this void with so many things. Material goods. Romantic relationships. Sex. Accolades and awards. Promotions and pay raises. Social media. Drugs and alcohol.
The problem is that none of these things will ultimately satisfy us. Oh sure, at first it kind of works. We get a thrill when we buy that new iPhone, or get 100 likes on our social media post, or receive a promotion. But that thrill is short-lived. And we find ourselves constantly searching for the next thrill, and that void persists, because it’s never filled.
We are looking for love in all the wrong places. (Thanks Johnny Lee!)
So often we look for acceptance, contentment, security, and love in everything else EXCEPT God. And then when we still feel empty, we wonder why it isn’t working.
The thing is, only God can fill that God-shaped hole in each of us. Only God’s unconditional love will satisfy that void. As St Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Or, as Psalm 42:1-2 says, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
The minute we try to fill that void with other things, we are missing out on filling it with the only thing that satisfies– Jesus’ love and acceptance and peace.
How is God calling you to realize God’s unconditional love for you– and to stop trying to fill that God-shaped hole with anything else except God’s love?