A quick glance at what is happening in the world around us is indeed very sobering. The abandonment of faith for seeking pleasure and wealth, the deterioration of the family unit, a crisis in world leadership, conflict and thousands of people seeking refuge outside their country… the list goes on.
But seeing what is happening in our society and within us may be even more sobering. We have become desensitised, the conscience of many seared and as a result people grope in the darkness clutching on to wealth, education, health and unbridled pleasure to fill the void in ourselves.
This distracts from what the real pursuit should be.
What does it take to bring man to his senses?
GK Chesterton puts it well:
“Faith has to all appearance gone to the dogs …but each time it was the dog that died.”
Indeed, to be without God is to be without hope (Eph 2:12). To be empty of hope is to live a life for the fleeting moment, to fail to discover the real meaning and purpose of our existence.
The God of Hope
The Christian is related to the ‘God of Hope’ but he experiences that hope not just in his mind but in his deep heart. He is filled with hope even in difficult times because he has discovered prayer where his emptiness is filled and his faith is strengthened.
Blessings in our Emptiness
God calls us to nothing less than conversion and holiness since sin deadens the soul.
Jesus once told a story of a young man who having left his father’s house, he messed up his life big time. At one point feeling the emptiness in his stomach, he came to his senses and acknowledged the emptiness in his heart. Ironically this emptiness became a gift because it was what led him to go back to his father’s house. (see Luke 15:11-31).
Lent is a time of returning to God, to re-tune our choices and our priorities to His heart. In the parable, Jesus describes the encounter of the son with his father as one filled with joy and hope, and this can be our experience too when turn from our emptiness and trust God once again with our lives.