Throughout life we are constantly searching for meaning. We attempt to identify ourselves by our jobs, with labels, and through other people. In doing this we are searching for some fulfillment that can never be obtained or at least never satisfy. For once we attain to a particular secularized standard, take a car for instance, it may satisfy us temporarily, but as soon as a new model comes out or it loses its new car shine we want something different. This desire is not so much an innate nature within in us as it is the state of being in which we exist.
A while back my wife and I were attending her former church when a young mother approached me. She had known my wife for several years and just wanted to get to know me and what direction I believed that God was leading our family. After explaining where we were in life and our circumstances another mother, Heidi, joined the conversation, listening intently to all that I had to say about my rebellious high school days. When I had finished, Heidi leaned forward and asked if I would minded if she ask me a few questions. With a little hesitation I agreed, at which point she began to lay her daughters life before me.
Apparently the previous Tuesday, her daughter, Hannah, a sixteen year old sophomore, had gotten into a fight with her boyfriend, John, at school. John had expressed what was on his mind using several colorful adjectives describing his disgust with Hannah as a person, leaving her devastated. She was literally crushed. She felt as though her heart had been ripped out and thrown on the floor to be trampled by all.
When she returned home from school her mother was there to meet her at the door. All Hannah could do was cry. Between the sobs she managed to say his name, John, which is all her mother needed to know. Hannah had already been to see a psychiatrist for depression dealing with previous rejection brought on by John and other “boys” in her life. The “good” doctor, note the sarcasm, prescribed some Prozac and sent Hannah on her way, never really delving into Hannah’s issues of rejection which actually resulted in the now deepening depression. It has always been a wonder to me as to why we throw Kleenex at a cold when we should be giving them NyQuil, but that is another story.
Hannah cried in Heidi’s arms for hours. Finally, Hannah seemed to gain some type of composure and they sat and talked bout the whole situation resolving, in Heidi’s mind at least, any areas of doubt about being loved by her parents and by God. Hannah seemed to understand to the point that Heidi thought she even saw her crack a smile. After such an evening Hannah went to bed early while her parents remained awake praying for her and her mental state over the next few days before they retired to bed as well. Heidi couldn’t sleep though. She kept running the evenings events through her mind again and again, something was not right, until finally she had to go check on her daughter.
Heidi found Hannah in on the bathroom floor weeping. When she bent down to pick her up she began to see the blood all over her arms and legs. Hannah had taken a knife and begun to carve the names that John had called her into her body, across her forearms, into her thighs, and down onto her calves. None of the cuts were deep enough to require stitches, yet Heidi knew they were going to leave scars. After picking Hannah up, Heidi began to clean her off. She spoke gently to her, only as a mother can, soothing and reassuring her broken daughter. This helped Hannah to calm down, and bring her back to reality. It was only at this point that Hannah began to realize the consequences of what she had done, for not only had Hannah carved names into her flesh, in the heat of the moment she had downed an entire bottle of pills as well.
The doctors had said that the pills did not deem ambulatory measures, yet they were serious enough to make a stomach pump and a charcoal flush a necessity. Consequently, for the rest of the night, Heidi and her husband Greg sat in the emergency room nervously holding their baby in their arms, waiting for what seemed like eternity.
When we were created, we were created to have a relationship with Christ. During the fall God removed Himself from humanity as He cannot dwell with sin. This leaves us with a hole in our lives. The expression of a “God-shaped hole” is almost cliché but even this story proves the statement to be true. Hannah’s problem is not with the boy or even her self image. Hannah’s problem lies in where she is focusing her life, where she finds her fulfillment and meaning. No human, no form of materialism, no __________ can ever satisfy the desires of our hearts. They were created to be satisfied by God. So when we attempt to stuff that “God-shaped” hole with anything but God we will continue to grab at nothing but the air.