In an effort to become more authentic in the blog, I’ve started doing something new, and joined Joy, a new writer I’ve come to know, in sharing about life: unmasked. I’m grateful for Joy’s allowing me to participate in this blog meme, and look forward to sharing some of my struggles, questions, and failures.
We all feel it. That void. The place where something should exist, but simply doesn’t, or perhaps not always. The desire for unconditional acceptance. The desire to feel unconditionally loved. The desire for constant companionship and community. The desire to see the end of injustice. The desire to FEEL happiness and joy consistently. The desire for the pain to go away forever. The desire for the end. The end of this wretched place we call Earth, and the arrival of the promised New Earth. Even if we don’t know it.
We all know this world is broken and jacked up. We just have different reasons. Some of us blame it on the cosmos originating from chaos, as if the order we do have came from the chaos. Some of us blame it on gods no longer concerned with creation. Some of us simply blame humanity for all of the problems, as if we alone control this planet.
And some of us believe in the Holy God who created the cosmos with but a word, declaring that there be light before there was a sun. And the nothingness obeyed Him.
Those of us who believe these things wrestle with the void in a much stronger, much different fashion. Because we know that there is no such thing as true unconditional acceptance or constant community. Those of us who confess this omnipotent Creator must also confess that He does have conditions. He does have Law, and we have broken it. We have broken the conditions for our acceptance. But because God was rich in love, He fulfilled the requirements for us, and bore upon Himself the punishment for our treason. Now, we find our acceptance solely because of Christ’s accomplishment on the cross. We find our constant community in the body of Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
But the body is still broken, and we do not always feel the Spirit’s closeness. There are times when we feel our own body, the Church, betray us, and the God who loves us seems ever so distant. Times when we fail, and it hurts us simply because we failed our Savior. In this time, we cry out with the Apostle Paul for an end to “this wretched body of death,” and we wrestle with the void once again. But we do not wrestle like others, because we know that mere sex, food, and drink cannot fill the emptiness of a seemingly distant God and Church.
We know that the only time we will cease to wrestle is when the Christus Victor returns with eyes like fire and a robe dipped in blood. The very Word of God bringing true justice, laying to waste all of His enemies with but a word, as though it were a sword powerful enough to strike down nations. It is for this bittersweet moment, when we see Christ return triumphantly over Sin, Death, and those who oppose Him – some of them our friends and family – that we cry “Maranatha, Lord Jesus! Maranatha!”
For it is this moment when the void is eternally filled, the wrestle ceases forever, and true joy in God’s tangible presence is ushered in.
Until that day, may God grant us the grace and strength to suffer well when we experience the void, and be ever grateful when we have moments of feeling the void filled, a foreshadowing of the day Christ comes back and fills the void permanently.