An Emptiness Within
SOMETHING IS MISSING, something is wrong. You don’t know what it is, you just feel it. The emptiness gripped Dave so strongly that he felt as though something was tearing right through his body, creating a cavern stretching from his heart to his stomach.
Nothing Dave tried would make the overwhelming sorrow go. For a long period of Dave’s life, he felt empty, as though someone had shot a hole right through him. He could not see it, but he could feel it. No matter what he would do to try to make himself happy, Dave always felt empty. Dave tried parties, friends, buying things, and going places, but nothing would fill the emptiness…not until he found out what had been missing in his life.
ONE NIGHT, SHORTLY after midnight when Dave was home alone, he felt a presence at the end of his bed. Dave was so afraid that someone had broken into his flat that he did not look for a minute. Then, he felt he must look to see if someone was there.
Dave peeked out from under the covers, and there, at the end of the bed, stood a dark figure. Dave felt the presence of pure evil standing there. Pulling the covers back up over his head, for the first time in his life, Dave prayed. “God, if you are real, get this man out of my room. Please, God, please, make it go away.”
Analyzing the Night
DAVE WAS A devout atheist, so he never prayed. He was scientific, and believed that God was a myth used by the stupid people to explain things they could not understand. He also believed that weak people, to obtain a false sense of hope, used God.
That night Dave felt weak. He could not face his fears alone. He did not even believe that God existed, but he could not overcome his fear alone. When he saw the figure at the end of the bed, he felt pure evil in the room. How and why would he feel evil? He did not believe in an evil creature, a devil, any more than he believed that there was a god.
But, Dave still remembers the feeling to this day, nearly 30 years later. The room was filled with darkness, but the figure was even darker than the room. When Dave thought that something was in the room, he did not hear a sound. He did not feel anything touch him. He just felt as though something was there.
Having studied some psychology, Dave knew that people can fabricate things in their minds due to the chemical reaction from fear. Being scientific, he could not rule out the possibility that nothing was there and fear had caused his mind to fabricate a fearful creature.
While Dave knew it could be true that nothing was there, the image was so real. But, Dave was scientific. Why would he feel something was there at all? He had to examine the possibilities.
Something strange was happening that Dave could not explain. When he prayed, the dark figure disappeared. Dave got up to check the house, everywhere. He checked every corner of the house. No one was there, and not a window or door was unlocked. If this was not a fabrication in his mind, how had the man gotten into the room?
If there was a pure evil, as Dave had felt, was there a supernatural devil figure? Was there really a god to get rid of it? What had caused this strange night? Dave knew it must be either real or a fabrication in his mind. He could not study the fabrication to find the truth, but he could pursue the possibility that there is a god.
Searching for God
DAVE PONDERED WHERE to search for the truth. Which of the higher beings people worshipped could be the real god? If he picked the wrong god, would the real god get angry and put him in hell some day?
Dave now had many questions to try to answer. He began to read. He read about Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism. He thought about other gods whom people had worshipped throughout history. Some seemed to be pure myth. Some were only odd stories that did not have any physical relationship to people or the world and had never actually been seen or experienced. Those Dave ruled out immediately.
Others were not what he would want to follow, even if they were real. Dave could not follow a god who would have people do things that are evil or who would do things that would hurt society.
One religion did seem to make sense. Dave began reading the New Testament of the Bible. He had grown up in a Christian church, but did not like their fabrication of Christianity. Church was something you went to, but not to enjoy or understand. You sat there, and then left as soon as you could get out. There was no meaning to Christianity other than a social function.
People read the Bible in church or Sunday School as though it was a history book filled with old, out of date stories. No one treated God as though He was real.
DAVE HAD NEVER found God in church as a child. He believed there was no god partially due to his experiences at church. The church people did not try to be any different from any other people in society. Occasionally they would be pious, talking nastily about unbelievers as though they were stupid. However, they talked nasty about most everyone, including other churchgoers.
If Christianity was real, based on what Dave learned as a child, he wanted nothing to do with it.
However, now Dave was reading the Bible, and discovering that true Christianity was not what he had seen at church. Jesus taught that we are to have two main duties in life…to love God and to love others. Jesus filled His entire existence on earth with love.
Jesus listed the guidelines for a happy life. Since Dave was socially conscious, he always searched for ways to better society. What he had read in the New Testament all made sense. If everyone followed the guidelines set down by Jesus, the world would be a perfect place to live.
Dave was shocked to see how smart Jesus could have been so long ago. Jesus told His followers to start a society based on love and forgiveness. We were not to kill others who did not believe the way we do. We were to love others so that they could see how much better the world would be if it were filled with love and compassion. The spreading of love should make others decide they would want to be part of God’s society.
When someone had a problem, Jesus would help. If someone had done something wrong, Jesus would tell him to stop his sins and then forgave him. Jesus would never demean anyone, but rather, lovingly help people so they would want to follow the right path.
Jesus’ description of society was not the same as socialism. Although everyone is to love and look out for everyone else, we are also to respect others. We are not to seek riches or wealth. (Luke 18:24) We are to seek God’s will for our lives, and be careful not to allow our own lusts and desires to misguide us. We are to know that we can lose sight of God if we put emphasis on riches, so we must be careful always to put God first.
We may obtain wealth, as God is loving and kind and wants us to have everything. However, we should never lose sight of the fact that we may begin putting more emphasis on our possessions than on God and others if we gain in wealth, so we must be very careful in what we do.
God punishes those who mistreat others. God hates it when people do not treat others fairly and honestly. God warns about business people who do not pay a fair wage. (Malachi 3:5) The fairness discussed in the Bible is similar to socialism, however, Jesus also states that some will be more diligent with the gifts God gives them, and will obtain more. (Matthew 25:29)
For the socialist model to work, people must all be good and follow what they should do. Jesus knew that people would not all act equally. Jesus knew that some would work hard and others would not. Jesus knew that people would lose the desire to work if their diligence did not pay off. Jesus admonished the slothful. The Bible states that those who will not work should not eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
The Socialist model causes people to lose their motivation to work. Even those who strongly believe in doing right would find it difficult to desire to continue for long when they see the slothful benefiting from their own hard work. Eventually the highly motivated are unmotivated due to the unfairness of others benefiting from their hard work.
In our capitalistic society, everyone is out to benefit himself or herself, mostly by getting whatever he or she can out of others. The rich get richer by the poor getting poorer. Therefore, the rich truly are losing God, as their actions are getting them further from God’s desires for their lives, just as Jesus said.
Jesus said we are to love each other enough to be willing to die for each other…and He did. Jesus died because God said we would all have to go to hell for our sins, but wanted to provide a way for us all to be saved. Jesus loved us so much that He did this for us, so we can go to heaven when we die if we believe in Him.
Jesus’ model does not require us all to go through the same punishment He went through. He knew that human’s selfish and greedy nature would make people hate believers who had God’s special blessings… love, peace, and joy. Jealous unbelievers would make life difficult for His followers. However, He knew believers would have what was really important: the love, peace, and joy. He also gives His followers a special power. Jesus’ gives His followers the Holy Spirit to guide, guard, comfort, and protect them. (John 14:26)
In following God’s ways of love, we could create a better society to live in. In following God’s ways of love, we could fill up the empty holes.
Proving God to Yourself
AS DAVE STUDIED the Bible, he discovered it was practical and sensible. He knew society would be better if everyone would follow the guidelines of the New Testament (and not the false preaching in many churches). He could tell that the Bible was a brilliant guidebook; however, he obtained more than great teachings.
Dave decided that only good could come from following the teachings of the Bible. If the Bible was true, he needed to do more than scientifically analyze it…he needed to accept it. If the Bible was true, unbelievers would go to hell.
Dave had to know if God was real. He realized whoever wrote the Bible was very wise and loving. Now he needed to know if the God written about was real. Dave again did the one thing he had previously thought was stupid. He prayed. He prayed for God to prove that He was real, if He was.
Dave knew, scientifically, the fact that he was praying meant that he wanted to believe, therefore, any proof could be tainted by his own desires for God to be real. It is difficult for any scientist to analyze any findings scientifically, as most are trying to prove theories. The simple fact that they are trying to prove something initiates a factor of prejudice into the findings. People can always twist evidence to “prove” something that is only a spurious correlation.
Dave, therefore, did not believe in anything proven by anyone other than himself. He looked at the findings of others and wondered if they were true, but he would never completely believe it. In fact, Dave knew that even seeing something himself could be false, as his body might not function correctly. He could be hallucinating.
For this test, Dave chose to analyze his findings as though they were real, trying not to overlook any factors that could make him twist the results.
Dave also needed to be sure he was not contradicting what he was trying to prove, the Bible. God had provided proof to people, on occasion, but never in ways which benefited them. Jesus would heal people because He loved them, but not to prove to them that He was God. When someone would ask for a miracle for proof, He would not do a miracle. (Luke 16:31)
However, when someone wanted to follow God, but was fearful that they were following their own desires, God would provide proof. When Gideon wanted to follow God into battle against Midian, but wanted to be sure it was God’s will, he asked God twice for proof. Once he put a cloth on the threshing floor at night and asked God to make the cloth wet and the threshing floor dry by morning. The second time he put the cloth out again and asked that the cloth be dry and the threshing floor wet. Both times the cloth was as Gideon had asked. (Judges 6:36-40)
Gideon did not ask selfishly. Gideon did not ask for riches or anything for his own gain for proof. He only wanted to know for sure God was real and he was following God’s will.
Sometimes we do ask selfishly. Sometimes we want help with a problem or healing. However, God is not Santa Claus. He provides these things when He knows they are best for us and when He wants to give them to us, not when we want them. Therefore, we cannot use selfish miracles or the lack thereof as proof of God’s existence.
Dave asked for proof, and received it in an odd way that proved to him that God was real. Dave was reading a book about miracles God had performed for a couple. The proof to Dave was that the same things were happening to Dave before he read about them happening to the couple.
The way the things happened to Dave made him believe. Dave doesn’t think others will believe because of his proof. Each person needs to ask God into his or her own life and provide his or her own experiences.
Filling the Emptiness
THE BEST PART of Dave’s discovery of God was that, as Dave learned about God, he felt the empty space inside being filled. God filled the hole that Dave felt going through the middle of his body, and has not felt the hole since.
Jesus promised when He left earth that He would send His Holy Spirit to live inside of His followers. Dave felt as though he had an empty space inside until the Holy Spirit filled it.
Sad things still happen, but the emptiness within is gone. Now Dave has the Holy Spirit to remind him that God is still in control, and that He won’t let anything happen if He chooses not to let it happen. And, when bad things do happen to God’s followers, He promises, “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) This hope fills all empty places within believers.
God’s Promise to You
I HAVE SEEN this same emptiness inside other unbelievers. They cannot explain the feeling; they do not have any reason to feel this emptiness. Their lives may be going along fine. They may be prosperous. However, something is missing. They can feel it, but they cannot explain any reason for it.
God created us all. In creating us, God created a need within us for Himself. Nothing else can fill that need except for a personal relationship with God. God has changed many lives. He can do the same for you. Jesus promised: “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you… For all who ask, receive. For, in love, God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (from Luke 11:9-13)
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