Monday, September 2, 2013

Spilling the Beans


A word that, to a Christian, can be like Pavlov's bell. 

When used by someone to describe their life, it can cause us to instantaneously begin belching out Bible verses and phrases like "peace like I've never before known," and "joy unspeakable," (yet somehow we will continue to find the words to speak about it).

People seem to use that word to describe feelings of loneliness, purposelessness, fear, grief, and almost any other feeling that accompanies trauma as intense as the death of a spouse, or as superficial as the closing of your favorite dry cleaner. (Hey, some folks take professional dry cleaning and exemplary service very seriously.)  What your average non-believer may not realize, is that such a word releases a flood of endorphins in the mind of a Christian that can cause us to wildly and tyranically spew forth -ologies and -isms of the Christian faith that are rivaled only by the "small print dictum" at the end of an auto dealership's radio commercial.

I'm being facetious, of course, but the concept of emptiness is not foreign to any of us.  In fact, in this age we have the capacity to be surrounded by constant communication, stimulation, information, fornication and fortification, more than in any other.  And yet, our world is "empty."  In John 4:14 and 6:35, Jesus says that those who follow Him will never thirst or hunger again; Jesus fills the empty corners of our lives, of our hearts, that we may never be empty again.  Christians know this to be true!  So forgive us for our enthusiasm and preachiness, we just want to share.

And believe it or not, we still know what it means to feel empty.  Not all the time, mind you, as is probably the case with those who do not claim a personal relationship with Jesus, as well.  And it certainly doesn't stand to reason that because we feel that way, it means we are that way -- any more than feeling fat makes us so. (The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit, Our Helper and Comforter, dwells within us - Romans 8:9, and I Corinthians 6:19)  But we feel empty sometimes, too.

So what do we do? vomit verses and truths all over ourselves? call one of our Christian friends to do it for us?  If only that were true!  But the truth is, some of us find comfort in the refrigerator.  Some of us find comfort in old movies, or trashy novels.  Some of us gossip, or revisit substances we left in the dust long ago, or waste hours on the internet, or cut, or any of the myriad of things to which "the world" might turn.  You see, Christians are not perfect, and as much as we'd like to hope we get it all together, the only thing we hope in is Jesus.  We cannot get it together, but Jesus can.  We cannot permanently fill the emptiness, but Jesus can.  We cannot make the loneliness, purposelessness, fear, or grief go away, but Jesus can.  And when the feelings of emptiness come, if we turn to Jesus and hang on to His promises with all that we've got, we will once again feel full.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Psalm 23:5
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