I’ve just read the horrific story of an ex-soldier in the RAF and Royal Engineers. She had a distinguished career, was a military climbing instructor, and a member of a mountain search and rescue team. When she retired to bring up her children, she couldn’t cope with her new life and turned to alcohol. She became estranged from her husband and children, one day met a man at a pub, a complete stranger, agreed to go back to his flat, and while there she was brutally murdered. She was 38 years old, and she’d known this man for 6 hours.
What a tragic story, and what a waste of a life. How could such a successful woman lose her way, and lose her life too? What was it about her life that made it so dissatisfying? For many women bringing up children is where satisfaction comes from, seeing them grow, learn and be successful as adults, but not this woman. She obviously missed the daily excitement of her military career, and life seemed empty without it.
We all need something to fill our lives – partners, children, jobs, friends, hobbies. If we don’t find satisfaction through legitimate means we may turn to the illegitimate – alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, crime. This lady must have felt empty inside and couldn’t find anything to fill the huge hole created when she retired.
We may not like to admit it, or even face it, but there’s a huge hole in every one of us. It doesn’t mean that we have unfulfilled lives, it just means that we know something is missing. What we all have is a huge God-shaped hole in our hearts that only he can fill. The Bible says about God, “He has also set eternity in the human heart”. (1) It’s impossible for us to get away from the idea, buried deep within us, that there must be more to life than this. Even the most ardent atheist knows, if he is truly honest, that there’s an emptiness deep inside.
David Boudia is an Olympic, gold medal winning, 10m diver. He thought that winning a gold medal would bring him satisfaction, and worked towards it for years, to then discover that it was a great thing to have, a wonderful achievement, but it didn’t satisfy. He looked elsewhere for satisfaction, and found it in Jesus. In his autobiography, Greater than Gold he says,
“You can take the gold medal away from me. You can take my health and my career. You can take my particular church. And as much as I love them, you can take my friends and my family. If all I have is Jesus, then Jesus is enough. It’s a scary thought, yes, but true. He is worth every sacrifice you may have to make. He is worth every struggle in this life you may have.”
David Boudia discovered that Jesus was the only one capable of filling the God-shaped hole in his life, because he is God. He is God the Son, the one who came from heaven to earth to die for us. He has suffered and died for our sins, and if we turn to him in faith we are forgiven. We also enter into a wonderful relationship with him that is totally satisfying. At one time he said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (2) Isn’t that what we all want, a life that satisfies and brings joy into our lives. That’s what a life with Jesus gives us. Turn to him and fill the emptiness that you know is there.
- Ecclesiastes 3:11
- John 10:10