“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”- John 10:10 (NASB)
I want to begin this post with the question I asked at the start of Part 1 to this two part series, “What happens when we aren’t experiencing a full life?”
This is a heavy question and one to be worked with, but now we get to the part about hope.
You see, life is not always going to feel the fullest, especially in hard times. Life, in fact, will down right stink and we will have to deal with the things thrown at us.
The real questions that need to be answered now are:
1) Are you going to handle the feeling of emptiness on your own?
2) Are you going to let the lack of something in your life define who you are or will you be defined by something greater?
Let’s look at a point in Scripture that encapsulates the very points I am trying to drive home.
In John’s Gospel account of Jesus’ crucifixion we discover an interesting interaction between Jesus, His mom (Mary), and John (the author of the Gospel and Revelation…and his letters). He shares this:
“Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby (p.s. that’s John*), He said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”- John 19:25-27
I can only imagine what Mary was going through, watching her son being crucified on the cross and witnessing people mock and ridicule Him while He was dying. As a father, I can only think that at that very moment her life was feeling empty. How could she let Him down? How could she allow something like this to occur?
I would be saying something like this, “God, you gave me your Son to take care of and this is what happens? I have failed. I am losing one of my most cherished life accomplishments and in the most heart-wrenching way possible.”
Jesus, being God in the flesh, most-likely noticed the pain in her eyes and could tell the struggle she was going through.
So, He does what He did best, reconcile the struggle and redefine who she was. She was still His mother, but she no longer had to hold on to that role. She was now the mother of the disciple He loved.
She no longer had to look at her life and feel incomplete since she lost her son. She now had a role to play in caring for His friends. His best friend was going to be alone, but now he had a redefined role as a son to the mother of Jesus.
Here is the hope we find when our lives feel empty or incomplete because we are lacking something. We might have lost a job while watching friends experience extreme success. We might have had a bitter divorce while our friends are posting sappy love notes on Facebook for everyone to read. We might not have been able to have a child, but we see some people having kids and posting their pictures on every social media site (I’m guilty, but I’ll admit it’s filtered).
You get my point. We have a lot of things that can lead us to feel empty, but thanks to Jesus we are not defined by those painful experiences. We are defined by our Creator.
He looks down at us and says “Yes, you are losing your job, but you have a role to play in my kingdom to serve others. Do it with joy!” “Yes, you have not had children or have lost yours, but you have a role to play with the children around you to help guide and encourage them. Do it with the love and compassion you would show your own children!” “Yes, life is hard and things aren’t looking the best, but look to your right or left and you will see people who have it just as hard, which means you can help encourage each other to move beyond your hurt.”
You see, Christ saw that life could feel empty, but His very role of giving life in abundance came to fruition on the cross. He redefined our lives from the cross.
May we see our lives beyond our pain and step into the lives of others. May we find ourselves willing to serve in our hurt, love in our pain, and share the hope we find in Christ with those searching for that very hope in their time of need.
Our hope is found in Jesus and our lives are defined by Him. Let’s live it to the fullest.
QUESTION: How have you found yourself moving beyond your empty feeling in Christ?