Rewind. Pause. Push Play. Aaron says, “God makes your holes whole.”
April 7, 2011
Rewind: Cheerios, penne, bracelets, thimbles, lifesavers, rubber bands, milk rings, and pretzels, Shirt sleeves, gardens, calamari, CDs, Swiss cheese, rings, baseball caps, English muffins, water bottles, and cups. Fruit loops, coffee mug handles, onion rings, bunt cakes, notebooks, donuts, baseball gloves, mittens, and bagels. Can you see the connection here?
Each one has at least one hole – at least one opening through something. Holes are everywhere.
Sometimes you can see through the hole clear to the other side (like in a donut), and sometimes you can look in and see the bottom (like with a cup or a water bottle); sometimes there’s one big hole (as is the case in a bunt cake), and sometimes there are a bunch of little holes (thimble, anyone?). Most of the holes listed above are harmless, and some may even be useful (like the nooks and crannies of an English muffin), but what about those of a more threatening variety? What about the hole in the side of the Titanic, or that nasty pothole in the middle of your street, or the embarrassing hole in the butt of your favorite jeans?
Last night Aaron talked about how each and every one of us is riddled with holes. These holes are the source of that ache, that indescribable longing, in our hearts for something more. They are often the reason why we turn to things other than God for satisfaction; they’re the source of the little voice deep within us that says, “I know I won’t hurt anymore – there’s no way I’ll still feel empty – if I just…” But that ellipsis is hardly ever what it should be; it’s hardly ever “turn to God.”
Holes are the source of our wandering. They are reason why we find ourselves constantly turning in the wrong direction and walking away from what we know to be Truth. The tricky part is that they’re also the reason why we tend to veer ever so slightly to the right or left of that Truth. That’s right, the holes in our hearts, and more to the point, our constant efforts to fill them up again, don’t always manifest themselves in ugly addictions or menacing lies. Sometimes the ramifications are as minuscule as the difference between pursuing God with our mind instead of our heart.
After all, Aaron argues, that’s probably what happened to the Pharisees. These men were religious leaders of their day; they were devout followers of the Lord and truly believed they were leading the Jews in a way pleasing to God. These men did not start out from a place of wickedness; most likely, in the beginning, their hearts were in the right place. You see, Aaron explained, the first five books of the bible (also known as the Jewish Torah), contained 613 different laws that God’s chosen people were expected to abide by, and Israel kept messing up. The Pharisees saw Israel’s tendency to stumble, to wander, to turn away, to fill their holes with something other than God. In an attempt to redirect Israel’s efforts, the Pharisees began to issue new, more strenuous laws. These manmade laws, however well intentioned, served to build up an ever thickening wall between God and His people, and, ironically, they represent the Pharisee’s attempts to fill up their own holes deep within their own hearts: “if we could only follow the rules better; if we are just a bit more perfect, if we can create something apart from God that points people back to God, we won’t be empty anymore.” Their intentions were to live more Godly lives, but their methods spoke of a legalistic business arrangement, not a sacrificial, personal relationship. Aaron thinks it’s very possible that Jesus picked on the Pharisees as much as He did because they were so close.
The truth about our holes is that they leave us feeling meaningless, as if we’re lacking in value or substance, which is why we spend our lives frantically looking for something, anything, through which we can define ourselves and measure our worth. In Acts 4:12, however, Peter speaks directly into our holes, giving us the only solution to that emptiness we all feel from time to time. He says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” The name he’s talking about, of course, is Jesus Christ.
When he says that Christ brings salvation, he means that Christ saves us from something and for something else. Christ came to save us from our sin, from our wandering, and from our perpetual, indescribable emptiness, and He came to save us for something beautiful, humbling, colorful, awe-inspiring, and completely indescribable in its own right.
It has been said that holes are the only human things made in Heaven. Never forget that our Savior had His own holes: one in each wrist, and one through His ankles. His holes are our Good News, they are our Gospel, and they are evidence of our place in God’s heart. Never forget that His holes make us whole.
Pause: Take a moment to seriously think about the holes in your heart, and how you’ve gone about seeking to fill them. Are you running towards God, or away from Him? Are you following the road that leads straight to your Father, or are you pointed ever-so-slightly to the right?
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11
A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. Proverbs 17:24
And God placed all things under His [Christ’s] feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1: 22-23
Push Play: Don’t get discouraged. Letting God fill your holes up with His truth, letting Him make you whole again, isn’t something that you decide to do once. Nor is it something that you decide to do ten times. It’s something you absolutely have to decide each and every single day of your life. And, you’re human, so you will mess this up; it’s not easy, and absolutely no one on this earth comes by it naturally. Furthermore, depending on the hole, it may not immediately feel like God is working there, but I promise you, and more importantly, He has promised you, that He is working. But, and here’s some more hard hitting truth, you don’t get to sit there complacently and watch Him work; you have to continuously invite Him into your life through prayer, scripture, and loving behaviors.
We’re all wounded. We all have a past. If you filled us up with water (metaphorically speaking) we would all leak. No one is exempt from pain, and those who profess to be are liars. But no one is too far for Christ to reach. No hole is too deep for Christ to fill.