Aishwariya Rai (Indian actress) talked about it – a vacuum in her heart. She told the press once, “You know as Ms World, I was suddenly exposed to so much that after the year was over, there was suddenly a vacuum!” (The Times of India, 20 October 1999). The Backstreet Boys (Irish Boy Band) put music to the gnawing empty feeling on the inside. They sang, I was lost and alone, trying to grope, making my way down the long winding road. And no reason, no rhyme, like a song out of time… (lyrics as found on http://www.lyrics007.com/ on 12 March 2007). Australian youth icon, Pat Rafter expressed the void in his inner self this way after winning his second US Open (after pocketing a huge pay cheque before an adoring worldwide audience): “When you haven’t got it, you really want it; when you have it, you really don’t want it!” (Quote read from The Sportstar). John McEnroe depicted the barrenness in the bosom of Chilean Tennis Star, Marcelo Rios this way: “Here’s a guy who makes millions and millions of dollars a year and has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the world, and he looks miserable most of the time” (The Sportstar, 23 October 1999, page 67).
Life means more….
Hello. Hi! Do those real stories – from representative parts of the globe (Asia, Europe, North and South America and Oceania) from both the genders in a wide range of fields – strike a chord in your bosom? Think of the nights you hit the bed and stared into the ceiling and asked the question, “Is that all there is to life?” You walk with a spring in your step. Always flash a beaming smile. Your eyes sparkle. But the sadness and pain behind those eyes almost shows. Mankind – Kapil to Kajol – is on a search for meaning, for fulfillment in life. There is a universal feeling that “life means more” (as the debunked Hometrade.com ad goes). Life surely means more than growing up, studying, finding a job, getting married, having kids, becoming a grandpa and dying.
If you are searching for the meaning and purpose in your life here is a promise for you from the God of the Bible: Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed (Jer 29:11, The Message)!
In our quest to find what is missing in our life we try out different things: Drugs and discos, pornography and perversion; shopping sprees; boozing binges; fondling friends; long work hours. But when these are tried they leave us emptier than when we started. We can try to fill that vacuum with loads of wit or wisdom or work or women or wine yet that vacuum will surprisingly stay, the Bible points out (Ecclesiastes 2).
Why this emptiness?
The Bible explains why we have such emptiness in our hearts in the first place. It is because we try to fill that emptiness without God, who alone can give us real enjoyment (Eccl 2:25). “Life under the sun, will be meaningless and futile until we make a living relationship with the one above the sun – God!” (This is how Selwyn Hughes summarized the message of Ecclesiastes – one of the 66 books of the Bible). Only God can satisfy our search for true meaning in life. “Show us the Father (Father was the word Jesus used for God) and we will be satisfied” That is how Philip, one of the disciples of Jesus expressed this truth (Jn 14:8 NLT). Pascal put it precisely: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in our heart and only God can fill it!” That God-shaped vacuum entered our souls because of sin, the Bible explains (Isa 57:20,21). “Emptiness is their only reward,” the Bible says, when it speaks about people who make sin their life-style (Job 15:17, 31 NLT).
From Mother Teresa to Lady Diana
We are all sinners – from Gandhi to Godse, from Mother Teresa to Lady Diana – without exception, the Bible says (Rom 3:23). We are sinners by nature. By nature, Ethiopians have dark skin. By nature, leopards have spots. By nature, the human race sins. You and I, sin. This is the teaching of the Bible (Jer 13:23). That emptiness entered our system because we chose to sin – every passing day of our lives (Jer 6:16). Just as Anna Kournikova pouts, “Omega, my choice” we by our life say, “Sin my choice!” Hollywood interestingly titled a movie, Six Degrees of Separation. The Bible teaching is that sin has separated us from God who made us in his pattern and hence this empty feeling in our soul. The Bible also warns that sin will make us its slave and ultimately take us to the lake of burning sulfur – hell – where one will have to live forever and ever in great agony or pain (Jn 8:34: Rev 21:8).
Can’t lift yourself with your bootlace, can you?
The Bible also makes it clear that we cannot fill this emptiness in our hearts on our own (Isa 57:12). You can’t lift yourself with your bootlace, can you? Our good deeds are like a woman’s menstrual cloth in God’s sight, according to the Bible (Ezek 36:17). As Max Lucado wrote, “Two kids in a mud puddle can’t clean each other. They need someone clean. Someone spotless. We need someone clean too. That’s why we need a Savior.” That was the reason, Jesus – God cloaked in human flesh and bone – came to this earth two millennia back.
Never “full” without Jesus
Jesus preached, “I have come that they might have Life and have it to the full!” (Jn 10:10 NIV). Without a relationship with Jesus, no matter what you do or what you have, your life will never be “full” – it will always be empty and void. He came to plug that vacuum in the soul of every human and save every person from his sins! He is qualified to do so because he never ever sinned in all his life – something no one else has done in all of the world’s history – and therefore did not experience a vacuum in His heart. He wagged his bony finger at his worst enemies of his time – the religious head of the Jewish religion – saying, “Which of you can truthfully convict me of sin?” They were mum (Jn 8:46 NLT)! He is the Living Water we must drink (believe in) in order to never thirst again (or experience the empty feeling in our soul).
Salman Khan-Like muscular soldiers
As a sinner, I should have lived a life of dissatisfaction on the earth, then died and gone to burn in never-ending hell. But sinless Jesus took my place when he was executed as a crass criminal at a hill in Israel, two thousand years back. He took your place too. He shed his blood so that our sins – each of our sins – may be forgiven and the emptiness in our souls may be gone (Jn 3:16/ Rom 5:8). A moving poem dedicated to the Indian soldiers who lost their lives for the country at Kargil, goes this way: He loves Ol’ Hindi songs just like you/He hates injections, just like you/ He cried each time Amitabh died, just like you/He has been in love, once or twice, just like you/ He’ll bleed if you cut him, just like you….He’s gone to die for a stranger and that stranger is you! (Bangalore Times, June 29, 1999, page 2). That’s what Jesus did for us. He died a cruel death for each one of us when we were still sinners and far away from him enjoying the pleasures of sin. Jesus shed every drop of his sinless blood, got beaten so badly that his back looked like a plowed field by Salman Khan-like muscular Roman soldiers, to become the sin-bearer for every person who has ever lived, is living, and will live on this world. He loves us so very madly. Because he is God who is beyond the dimension of time – he could die for all humans of all times. Because he is human he could be your substitute and mine.
Ronaldo Vs Jesus
It’s the World Cup Football Final. The year – 1994. Brazil makes a substitution. The watch says it is just 8 minutes to the finish. In walks a teenager. His name? Ronaldo! In those 8 minutes he dazzled the world. It was a great substitution. I will tell you of the greatest substitution of all time. It happened six hours one Friday. It happened when Jesus took your sins and my sins upon himself on the cross. Because he was 100 percent human he could be every human’s substitute. Because he was 100% God (who by definition is infinite) he could die for all humans of all times – past, present and future. I am a sinner. I should die and go to hell. But Jesus said, “No! No! I will die instead of Duke. I will endure the horrors of hell instead of Duke!” He did. He also did for you. He did for every one of us. “He (Jesus) was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace!” That’s what the Bible tells us (Isa 53:5).
Bradman Vs Jesus
He came back to life – a feat that proves he is God and he is alone and above everyone in the long-line of self-proclaimed gods. When cricket’s legend Don Bradman died, The Sportstar paid tribute to him this way: “In an era when 50-plus is still a true yard-stick of greatness for batsmen, Bradman’s average of 99.94 must give us an idea where the Don stands – alone and apart from every cricketer” (Quoted from The Sportstar). That’s only an imperfect picture of how infinitely Jesus stands in comparison to all others who claimed to be gods – alone and apart! Jesus claimed to be the only way to fill-in the vacuum in your heart and the only way to God.
Come now to Jesus!
His offer to you today is straight: “Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover with me!” (Math 9:37,38 The Message). This isn’t a call to join a religion. No religion can plug that vacuum in your soul. Not Christianity! Not any other religion! Only Christ can. He also said, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (Jn 6:37 NIV). The Multi National Companies may drive you away, but my Master won’t. Your boyfriend may drive you away, but my Jesus will not.
Ask Lady Diana if you could!
The only cure for ache in your heart is to leave your life of sin and believe in Jesus. First, you must decide to leave your sin. The Bible calls this as “repentance”. Jesus preached to those who narrowly escaped death when a tower in the country he preached in – Israel – crashed down: “Unless you repent you too will all perish!” (Luke 13:5 NIV). His message is the same to those of us who are still alive and kicking after mishaps such as the crash of the 115-storey tall World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001: “Repent! Turn from your sin!” Who knows when our next brush with death will be?! Life is short. Ask Lady Diana if you could! It is never too early to come to Christ. But at any moment it can be too late! The best and the most sensible time to surrender your life to Jesus is “now” (II Cor 6:4)! Over 300 times the Bible declares in various ways that Jesus will return to planet Earth. He would do that to judge the world, we are told. He will do that in a sudden and unexpected way, as a thief in the night would break into a house! And to think the Bible – God’s Word in human words – has never ever gone wrong in over 600 historical events it has predicted (Source: Encylopedia of Biblical Prophecy by J. Barton Payne, Hodder and Stoughton, 1973)! To ignore the words of the Bible would be like shooting yourself on the foot!
You have to make a choice about Jesus. He claimed to be the only way to fill the vacuum of your heart when he said he came to this world to make our lives “full” (Jn 10:10). Take him at his word. Believe him. You can call Jesus the biggest liar who ever lived. Or you can call him a nut-loose. Or you can call him the only Saviour of your soul and invite him into your heart and life. But you have no way of getting around his claims to say, “Jesus was one of the good men who lived in the earth.” In fact if you call Jesus as one of the many good men or god men of this world you are in-effect calling him a liar. He did not give you that option in the first place. So he is a liar, lunatic or Lord (as C. S. Lewis put it). He can’t be a liar. He was sinless. Even his worst enemies could not find a single fault in him. He couldn’t be a madman. He did not giggle in glee when he was hammered on the Cross. He felt pain and cried out in agony. That leaves us with just one option: he is the only Way to Heaven; the only Way to fulfillment and purpose in life. He categorically stated, “For unless you believe that I am who I say I am, you will die (which ultimately means to be cast in the lake of burning sulfur to be tormented forever) in your sins!” Don’t say, “I will wait till I understand everything about Jesus and then only come to him!” We perhaps would sing with Hrithik Roshan, Kyon hotta hai pyaar? Naa thum jaano…naa hum (meaning Why do people fall in love? Neither of us knows!) (Words of this song were penned by Ibrahim Ashq and lyrics quoted from www.ukindia.com/zip2 on 12 March 2007). Likewise, it is very important that you come to Christ, with a simple faith – even if we may never fully understand all about him – that he died and rose to take away the blankness in your bosom, right now without any delay!
By praying this prayer with all your heart you can invite Jesus into your heart and life and see the vacuum in your heart go:
Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. The vacuum in my heart is because I have sinned against you. Please forgive me. I repent of my sin. Thank you for dying for me on that hill and rising up again. Cleanse me with your blood, which you shed for me! I promise to live for you – with you helping me out. So be it!”
Duke, the author of this piece works for an international bank, and loves to write. Email him at email@example.com.