Thursday, April 14, 2011

A God-Shaped Hole

It's a well-worn cliche. Every person has a place in their lives that can only be filled with God. If a person rejects God or is not open to knowing God, then that person will have a “God-shaped hole” in their lives. No matter what else he or she does to try and fill that hole, nothing will fill it. It is shaped only for God. Nothing else fits.

This is an old saying but a timeless truth. Just this week I had the sacred privilege of hearing a woman’s testimony. She reminded me that four years ago when she and I first visited over a cup of coffee, I asked her what brought her to our church. She said there was something missing in her life, a void that would not go away.

After she attended worship for some time, we had coffee again. This time she was hungry, not for food but to know more about Christ and what it meant to have a relationship with him. I encouraged her to join one of our small groups and attend adult education hour, where she could learn more about Christ but also grow in relationship to others who were seeking the same.

This week we had tea and a bowl of soup. During our lunch she asked me if I remembered what she had told me several years back. I must confess, I didn’t. Once she reminded me, of course, I remembered. Then she told me the really good news. The void is gone. She has found what was missing in her life. Christ has filled that void—that hole. It’s gone! And she was able to articulate an even deeper relationship with Christ. She said that she now knows that Christ is enough. No matter what else her circumstances, no matter what else she has or lacks, Christ is enough. His grace is enough. Wow! This is the testimony of one who belongs to and knows Jesus Christ. And now, she is sharing that experience with others whenever the opportunity presents itself.

This testimony was a gift to me. Many are the days when I wonder if anything I’m doing or saying in ministry makes a real difference in people’s lives. I know that God can use what we offer him in ministry anytime—today, next week, next year, or forty years from now. The fruit of ministry is entirely up to God. We are only called to share the good news of God’s grace with others. But oh how good it is to hear the kind of testimony that gives evidence to the fruit of the labor of ministry. It brought tears to my eyes.

I am stoked for another tour of duty! That empty void that God-shaped hole can be filled. God is at work filling it, one person at a time.

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