Most of us live our lives in a typically redundant manner. We wake, carry out our responsibilities, sleep and then repeat the next day. Depending on your personality type, you may find such an existence wonderfully comforting, or you might be bored to tears. Though, no matter your personality type, most of us eventually find ourselves arriving at the place where we begin to sense the inward cry of our hearts calling out for
Most of us first notice this as a quiet, nagging longing during adolescence, or perhaps even younger.
Suddenly, we begin to feel unsatisfied.
Our growing reservoir of knowledge, wisdom and experience enable us to notice the cracks and holes in our sense of self. Though we may not understand, nor be able to accurately describe what we have realized, we begin to sense that we are incomplete. We surmise that we are missing an important part of who we are, and our discovery of the loss can cause us indescribable discomfort, anxiety, and weariness.
Reasonably, we desire an end to the dissatisfaction we are experiencing, and so our natural response is an inward motivation to see that those cracks and holes be filled. Because of pride, or perhaps simply youthful ignorance, many of us are unable to honestly identify these cracks and holes as simple brokenness.
Those who are willing or able to honestly identify their discomfort as brokenness often struggle to accurately identify the source of their brokenness. If either go unacknowledged, this inner whisper becomes so loud that eventually, we are unable hear anything else.
Humans are prone to choosing a variety of healthy, and a slew of very unhealthy, things to appease their inner desire to be unbroken.
If we have not been raised to understand the truth of the Gospel through teaching and by example, we can mistake this longing to be whole for a longing for stuff, relationships, sex, success, money, escape and so much more. When substitute fillers don’t successfully offer us the completion that we seek, we assume the reason is simply that we have not acquired enough. Eventually we find that our desire to have more becomes a desire to have more of more.
Soon, our desire for more begins to influence and motivate our decisions, more and more.
If left unaddressed, these unchecked desires will seek to control our lives.
Ask an addict what it means to ‘chase the dragon’, and they will explain the endless pursuit of trying to recreate the elusive first-high experience that they can never quite re-attain. As both their psychological and physical tolerance increase, they find themselves further and further away from that which they seek. Yet a growing dependence also increases, thereby creating a cycle of personal destruction that far too many hurting souls have succumb to.
While most people may never experience the devastation of becoming addicted to drugs, everyday people find themselves trying to mend their brokenness by filling their holes and cracks with an endless supply of fruitless pursuits.
Yet, as they reach for, and anxiously stuff, the wrong ingredients, they only enlarge the cracks and holes of their brokenness. One large God-sized hole becomes many, as the desire to be whole is transformed into a desperate longing to fill the ever-increasing sense of emptiness.
What does the woman working hard to achieve her continually rising career or social goals in spite of the fact that her daughter desperately and dangerously longs for her attention have in common with the man secretly drawn again and again to lewd images on the internet screen in the middle of night while his wife sleeps?
What does the young adult moving from intimate relationship to intimate relationship, with each new sexual rendezvous more hollow than the last have in common with the aptly employed middle-aged adult living above his means, who is significantly in debt, and who despite a plummeting credit score continues to spend on luxuries and non-necessities?
What does the husband who provides nicely for his family, but drinks a little too much, and a lot too often, have in common with the wife who dedicates her life to her family, yet her constant criticism and incessant push toward upward mobility and status makes the entire household wish they were anywhere but there?
What do any of them have in common with any of us?
We are all broken because of and by sin.
God did not create us to be broken. He created us in His image and He called us good. But sin broke us. Yet in His mercy, He made a way for us to be unbroken.
He made a way for us to be whole.
Until Christ, each of us stand damaged, in need of a reconciled relationship with God, made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Apart from Christ, each of us is incomplete with God-sized holes that need to be filled with and by the Spirit of God. This is not accidental.
For, God will even use our brokenness.
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Though we may not realize it, deep within us burns a yearning to be made whole through a restored relationship with God.
This need to be whole through relationship with our Creator is by design.
The desire to know and be used by God for His purpose and to His glory is intricately carved onto our souls. Whether we realize or it not, we long deeply to be known by Him. Once we understand that He knows us, and we have begun to know Him, our souls groan inwardly as we eagerly await our ultimate redemption and restoration. As we grow in Him and are given opportunities to glimpse His glory, we become restless in our desire to fulfill His purpose and to experience the glory of His grace demonstrated through lives lived sacrificially for others. God has hidden within our hearts a yearning to see His purpose fulfilled within and through each of us.
Those who answer are rewarded with a right relationship with God and experience it into eternity.
Further, through our relationship with Christ we become temples of the Holy Spirit. Our hearts become both recipient vessels of God’s love, and wells from which living water pours forth.
With growing excitement and new faith, we submit ourselves to Him, and our obedience is rewarded with wholeness, joy and peace.
This is one of the great and mysterious gifts of grace:
Lives that were once governed by a hunger for more are transformed into lives committed to experiencing and sharing more and more of Him.
His will is an ever-present unfolding mystery, allowing us to glimpse the majesty of Christ as He works powerfully in our lives.
And if we are willing, each of us can stand as evidence of a powerful and loving God who uses our brokenness for His glory.
For further study: John 7:38, Romans 5:5, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Romans 1:20-23, Matthew 12:43-45, Romans 8:22-24
All scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.