Have you ever heard the metaphor of the “God-shaped hole”? It conveys the idea that every person is created with a hole or vacuum in their soul that only God can fill. It’s an innate longing for something outside of our self, much greater than our self. The authenticity of who coined that phrase is widely denounced, though that does not diminish its concept. I for one will be willing to claim authorship of that statement if no one objects, if I can figure out how to get Google to tie it to my name.
If there is such an innate void in all of us, why do so many people try a myriad of God-like alternatives to force-fill the void? Nonetheless the masses who place all manner of ungodly options in there hoping to fill the void?
The apostle Paul said “when I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.” A little baby lies unashamedly on its back and cries to be cleaned, fed and cared for. We grow up and learn self-sufficiency – I will clean myself and make myself better, somehow, anyhow. Jesus said “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
As good news as the finished work of Jesus is, there’s a draw from within that resists something for nothing. There’s an internal sense that somehow I have to qualify for this to have value. Like going to a restaurant, a meal tastes better when you pay for it rather than someone treating you to dinner. We just need to get over it, Romans talks about wages and gift. Go for the gift, it is unmerited favor.
So we get up off the bassinette of our beginning, fuddle around trying to tie our own shoelaces as we begin our education process, meander through decades of life sometimes trusting God but often trying to show him we’re capable. Negotiate through scores of years and people often arrive at a place where they once again let someone else help them. A product of realizing one is incapable of completely caring for themself, they let someone else help them with even the most basic of tasks.
Romans 8:29-30 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.
Our heavenly Dad isn’t out to show us He’s better than us, He’s not remotely insecure about that fact. He’s not even out to convince us we need Him, again, that’s fairly obvious. He is scanning the horizon for the day we realize that void in our very person is where He is meant to live. He is our life. We’re as incomplete as an empty flashlight without the power of the Holy Spirit in us.
In my younger days in church, I often felt challenged by others who knew more than I did (or at least seemed to). Nowadays, not so much. It’s not that I have matured and amassed great understanding. These days I am completely comfortable with who I am in Jesus. I don’t feel a need to know it all, I know the one who does. I have surrendered trying to prove something to God; we’ve both seen that rerun many times. I am His beloved son and He’s my dad, and we like it that way. We’re past the exciting but awkward first date of trying to impress, we’re genuinely friends. I hope each of you get to experience firsthand that rest in Jesus. He really is that in to you.