When I moved to two months ago England I lost all things that I relied on, bar one thing. I left my fiancÃ©, my family, my friends, even much of my academic speciality and niche at work. I exchanged these all for a chance to better myself by becoming a better researcher. And currently as Christmas approaches I am sure many feel the same as me, out of place and lonely.
Though I have never been particularly reliant on anyone or anything, there are times that I am reminded that my own resources are not enough, such as now. Though I am intensely aware of the love of my loved ones, sometimes that love is insufficient because their love is temporal: limited to time and space, a time and space other than where I cannot experience there loving presence because it is there and not here.
It may seem strange to some readers these problems of mine are not unlike the constant lamentations of the prophets who pleaded with Israel for repentance time and time again. This was not primarily to prevent divine judgement but to restore a long broken relationship.
(Therefore) I believe God's primary motivation is not judgement but grace as illustrated by Christ's suffering and sacrifice. A part of that grace is the completion of an empty soul. Though I find it difficult to say, there is a 'God-shaped hole in each of us' .
I believe that each of us has a sense of incompleteness. We may call it different things or try to rid ourselves of it in different ways, like through materialism. There is never enough things however to fill the gap, there is never "too much", as seen by today's rampant consumerism leading to economic collapse. Alternatively, even those desperate to try to rid themselves of worldly things find that there is never "too little". There is always a hunger for more of something. Are we in a strange situation where we hunger for something that cannot be satiated?
Isaiah 29:8: 8 as when a hungry person dreams of eating, but awakens hungry still;
as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking, but awakens faint and thirsty still. ...
One thing I was lucky enough to find in my short life is an experience of what I believe similar to having that incompleteness and hunger filled. For those who are lucky enough, the love of a partner is both restorative and filling. And I say lucky, because I believe that this partial completion is a sign to what happens when we are united with God. The love of others is a pointer to the full experience of complete completion.
We should be honoured that God saw it befitting for us to experience this hole in our lives. Surely the pain of a sinful soul is nothing compared to the yearning for God and that yearning being infinitely satisfied? If you were never thirsty would you seek water? How could we experience the love of God if we always feel full?
Surely the love of God is the love of more than a million people loving you, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends. But each of these loves is a pointer to the one love of God. From the love of others we can experience how it is to have a bit of an infinite hole filled. We can have a taste. But the only one that can occupy such a space is one who is infinite, and not limited by space and time.
The righteous do not have to endlessly hunger or have to merely dream of being satisfied:
Revelation 7:16-17: [the righteous] are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger any more nor thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.[a] And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
So whilst I may not experience the love of my loved ones all the time, I am loved by one who loved me before I was born and even capable of loving him. I rely on the one who cannot fail, for He is good and infinite and I will be satisfied. Those who seek satisfaction elsewhere will have their cravings thwarted.
Nathanael Yates from Perth, Western Australia, is an award winning young scientist who has won a scholarship to Oxford for 12 months as from October 2011
Nathanael's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/nethanael-yates.html