“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made know through Jesus Christ.” – Blaise Pascal
Blaise Pascal, a mathematician and philosopher from the 1600s is often quoted as saying, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every person which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator.”
However, somewhere along the way, it seems the institution of religion has largely failed the individual’s need. It has gone from being an honest pursuit of God to a systematic set of regulations, instructions, and dogma. It has not fulfilled its promises of purpose and hope. Religion has left its inventors feeling unsatisfied. See, The Vacuum In Our Hearts
In our pursuit of our individual development or goals, we often become more interested in doing than in being. We lose sight of our true purpose and latch onto the convenience of the commercialized virtues of our hedonistic society.
Flooded by Madison Avenue’s pervasive and invasive onslaught of advertisements designed to persuade us to choose one product or service over another because of its perceived aesthetic value, we often do exactly what the Apostle Paul warned us against; we become little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit (Eph. 4:14).
Even worst than the seemingly endless methods employed in our indoctrination – television, radio, cable TV, Internet, Social Media, etc., is the feeling that somehow, even though we have a standard of living second to none, better healthcare, more material wealth, greater conveniences and the ability to almost instantaneously acquire information on almost any subject, we still feel empty.
We begin to question whether or not the choices we have made were in retrospect, for our betterment. We begin to realize that all the hours and all the work to gain promotions, to gain a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment tend to become hollow, especially when there is no one to share them with.
An empty feeling begins to well up in the pit of our stomachs and the things and experiences; even the people who we at one time found so satisfying suddenly seem unimportant and unfulfilling. We begin to perform a personal inventory. Am I having a midlife crisis? Am I experiencing depression? What’s happening to me? Nothing satisfies this aching in our soul. I call this the “God-Shaped Vacuum.”
Filling the Void
Let’s define vacuum as a state of emptiness, a void. The term void refers to a feeling of want or hollowness. Many fill this void with alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, or work. Unfortunately, this only leads to a cycle of addictive behavior and never addresses the real underlying issues.
Our shift from a God-centered universe to that of postmodernism facilitates the embrace of naturalism, cultural relativism, existentialism, and pluralism.
Somehow, we have become our own bottom line.
Rather than stretching ourselves to reach the bar, we simply lower it to accommodate our own selfish whims and desires.
It is this moral insanity that separates us from the source of fulfillment – God. The consequences of our insanity are that we are lost, separated from God, enslaved to debilitating habits, and helpless. But simply recognizing that we are spiritually void is not enough. There must be some action on our part to confront the truth about self and move toward change.
The Bible calls this process repentance. It is the turning away from sin and turning toward God. It is not just being sorrowful or remorseful. It involves a complete change of heart & mind.
Change is not change until it’s change.
Many of us are like the woman Jesus encounters at the well in Sychar (see John 4). Like her, we have serious issues and we’ve insulated ourselves from reality. This woman sought to fill the vacuum in her life with “husbands.” At the time of her encounter with Jesus she had had five husbands and was currently living with a man that was not her husband. She was addicted to husbands.
When confronted by Jesus about her lifestyle she resorts to the superfluous conversation of the carnal. She does what many “believers” do; she attempts to deflect the conversation through religious rhetoric, to mask her carnality in culturally acceptable language; all the time knowing that she is empty.
Her lifestyle based on the narrative may have been the reason that she comes to draw water at Jacobs well, when according to Alfred Edersheim, “there was another well (the ‘Ain, ‘Askar), on the east side of the little town, and much nearer to Sychar than ‘Jacob’s Well’.” She avoids the other women of the village and any unpleasantness that might ensue. Deep down, she knew she was “off.”
Look at your own life. Do you make detours to avoid family members, friends, or business associates for fear of judgment, ridicule, or confrontation because of your lifestyle choices?
Challenged To Change
Jesus’ encounter with this woman at the well was not an accident. He purposed to be there, much to the surprise of his disciples. In fact, the scripture states, “He must needs go through Samaria.”
Here is the key to change – A broken heart and a contrite spirit. When challenged by truth, this woman was broken. Through this divinely appointed meeting, she comes to understand that what she needs to satisfy her thirst is not husbands, but faith in Christ.
It is her realization of this truth, that Jesus as Messiah is the one who fills the vacuum in our lives.