Feeling Empty? What It Means and What to Do
In 2009, Stockton Rush, an aerospace engineer and businessman, founded OceanGate Expeditions that conducted tours under the sea. Underwater tours were conducted using a submersible vessel developed with NASA.
In 2021, the first tours of the North Atlantic wreck site of the Titanic, were conducted in a five-person carbon fibre and titanium vessel called Titan. The tour cost $250,000 per person.
On 18 June 2023, the Titan submersible embarked on another expedition to explore the wreckage of the sunken Titanic but two hours later it lost the communication. A renowned Titanic expert, a world record-holding adventurer, two members of one of Pakistan's wealthiest families, and the CEO of the company, Stockton Rush, were part of the luxurious expedition. The Titan submersible suffered a "catastrophic implosion" (a violent collapse inwards), instantly killing all five passengers on board.
One of the first things that came to my mind when I heard this tragic news was why would anyone spend $250,000 to see a shipwreck some 4000 metres below sea-level? Also, what makes a person do bungee-jumping, or free-flying, and other extreme sports? Does man have a unsatisfiable thirst for adventure or is man restless, searching for that illusive experience to fill the void in his life?
C.S. Lewis said,
"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
Since Adam and Eve were separated from God in the garden of Eden, there has been a void in each of us that screams to be filled. We attempt to fill that void with everything from adrenalin-rushing activities to relationships to careers. But the problem with these attempts is this: none will ultimately satisfy. Oh, you may find enjoyment and contentment in those things for a while. However, in the end they will leave you empty, longing for something more.
The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote:
And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. – Ecc. 2:10
But what was the outcome of all that?
Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. _ Ecc; 2:11
All vanity and striving after wind? Nothing to be gained? Those are some heavy words. But it gets worse. The writer continued to say,
So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. – Ecc. 2:17
Our efforts to fill the void we feel in this life end up causing us to hate the things that we poured our hearts into, because they ultimately fail to satisfy us. Often, men hop from adventure to adventure seeking their next "fix." Some even hop from relationship to relationship.The problem is that it's a never-ending cycle since only God can fill the void.
Agustine of Hippo said,
"You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you."
We all have a hunger in our hearts for God — an empty place in our souls that only He can fill.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? - Ps. 42:2
Instead of turning to God and letting Him fill our souls, we turn to pleasure, fame, money, sex, or drugs and alcohol. Many people even turn to false philosophy or religion in an attempt to find the truth and fill the void in their lives. Although they may think they have found what they were looking for, they are just as empty as before. Their quest to fill those voids may sometimes have tragic consequences.
Only God can satisfy our inner hunger, and He will, as we turn to Him and by faith open our hearts and lives to Christ’s transforming power. God doesn’t want us to wander through life constantly wondering who we are or why we’re here. Instead, Christ came into the world to bring us back to God, and He will, as we commit our lives to Him.
According to Jesus, those who believe in Him will never thirst because streams of living water will flow from within them (see Jn. 7:38). Jesus also said that anyone who comes to Him will never go hungry (see Jn. 6:35). While bread and water satisfy legitimate hungers, Jesus was telling us that only He can fill that emptiness in our lives.
When we are not living for the purpose God has created us to live for, we feel incomplete and restless. We are never able to pinpoint why something always seems 'missing' in our lives. The Bible tells us that the reason we feel like this is because God has made us for the primary purpose of having a relationship with him. All other aspects of our lives flow out of our relationship with God, and his purpose for our lives. In the absence of a close relationship with God, we will feel empty and alone.
Let us pray,
Forgive me for trying to satisfy my emptiness with false substitutes, and temporary pleasures. Nothing and no one can fill the void in my heart that was made for You alone. Help me to seek when I feel an emptiness in my life. Help me to find my comfort, not in things, but in the my relationship with You. I know that you will never leave me or forsake me. Help me in my unbelief.
In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.