“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” Pascal
Nobel prize winner in Literature Winston Churchill, was a connoisseur of fine words of the English language. His carefully selected words breathed beauty, and life, into his stories, a mosaic of experiences built on bravado and a willingness to step whole heartedly into the fray. In preparation for “spontaneous” speeches, he would spend hours, even days, wrapping each word, each syllable, with just the right measure of passion, patriotism, and emotional language, to reach every beating heart in the audience.
For me, understanding the emotional, physical and spiritual characteristics of the human heart holds a position of tremendous passion, worthy of great study and celebration. Let’s face it, the heart is one of God’s greatest creations! This muscle in the center of our chests is the epicenter of life itself. The blood flowing in and out of the chambers of the heart literally feed the entire body. Yet, thirty minutes of exercise, three times per week, seems rather unimportant. It becomes significantly more important when doctors are sitting on top of you, beating on your chest, trying to get your heart to beat.
But there are many ways to break a heart.
For some, childhood traumas have lasting effects on the heart. In my case, as a child, something seemed to be missing, like feeling half empty inside. My biological mother, a very young teenager, gave me up for adoption. When other children in class were filling out their family tree, I felt lost, sad, cheated, just a big mistake. Growing older only made the feeling grow larger. Adoption is a wonderful thing, but every child perceives things differently and this is simply my story. I know there are other people who have felt the same way and these feelings should not be dismissed. Unanswered questions may leave children with gaping holes in their hearts.
Ironically, this was not the only hole in my heart. In my twenties, doctors discovered a congenital birth defect in my heart; I was born with three holes and surgeons performed open heart surgery to patch one of the holes. After patching the first hole, doctors hoped the other two holes would heal themselves. Believe it or not, twenty years later my patch came off and open- heart surgery was required again. But medicine made tremendous strides forward in those twenty years, and not only did they replace the patch, they rerouted arteries and blood flow in my heart. Talk about serving a big God, He was with me all the way!
Here’s a couple of side notes on my surgery. First, the doctors and surgeons both recognized my heart was strengthened by my regimen of exercise. Even though the left side of my heart was twice the size of the right, Dr. Churchwell described my heart as, “the healthiest sick heart he had ever seen. Exercise saved your life!” Second, there is no way to describe how knowing Jesus made a difference during my second surgery and recovery. His loving companionship through the process gave me even greater purpose and passion for Him.
God not only gave me a second chance to live, he gave me a chance to live for Him.
Humans are searchers, desperately looking for the right measure of worldly desires to fill the hole in their heart. It may be work, or pleasure, or drink. It might even be your husband, or food, or Kentucky basketball. When Adam committed that first sin, we became estranged from God, and the hole was opened, a hole we have been trying to fill with everything but the One who is perfectly designed to satisfy.
But God is the God of second chances, and he wants you to fill the longing, the hole in your heart, with him. The enemy, Satan, wants us to continue searching, selling “just a little more of this or that, and you will be happy and satisfied.” Even if what we are doing is good, and we are mostly happy, without God, over time, the hole will enlarge, and the void it creates will seem like a vast, bottomless canyon with an eternal consequence. Every heart that beats longs for Him. He created that desire, the “hole,” so we will rely on Him for everything and stand to testify to what he has done for us. He is the perfect fit for every heart.
C S Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “If I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Are you still looking for passion and purpose in your life? John 7:18 (ESV) reminds us, “Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”