• Pastor Stephan Hurkens

The Empty Person

The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?” Isaiah 44:20 NLT

Despite the economic turmoil in recent years, our society remains relatively affluent. We have more of everything and everything we have is bigger and better. Yet in the midst of the fullness of prosperity, there are multitudes of people who walk through life as if they are “empty.”

We have learned to live behind a glossy, successful veneer in order to hide the gnawing inner hollowness of our lives.

Many of the extremes of our age are merely efforts to find some meaning for life. The pain of emptiness is not easily sedated. Some people turn to drugs, alcohol or have another addiction. There are several people who do not turn chemicals but are addicted to the busyness of life. They keep adding to their already over-scheduled life.

Isaiah says of the empty person, “Such a person feeds on ashes.”

This phrase refers to that which has no purpose. The person has filled his or her life with only the physical. Any view of life that does not include God presents a tragic distortion. The fruits of their efforts are utter confusion.

However, the Christian has an assurance of purpose because of their trust in the heavenly Father. Isaiah 44:6 says: God, King of Israel, Your Redeemer, God of the Angel Armies says: “I am the first, I am the last and everything in between. I am the only God there is. Who compares with me?”

The Christian looks around and realizes that God is the originator of all he sees. The empty person, with a bankrupt philosophy, fails to see that science is merely a human attempt to discover the mechanics of God’s working.

The empty man’s basic fault is not a lack of commitment. No, it is that his commitment is a short-range one. The lamp of earthly hope casts at best a dim shadow and its feeble gleams stop short at the grave. The final resting place of all his hopes is a crude hole in the damp earth. Such a person has chosen only an earthly itinerary. He has planned no other journey.

In our age where there is much concern about survival, we need to recognize that failure to survive is not the greatest danger. Rather, that we do not shun the possibility of survival without meaning or purpose. The empty person has learned to survive. The empty person sees life as an end in itself. But this is a lie. The wise man commits himself to the army of the eternal God and gives himself in serve to God’s Kingdom. It is in this very experience that emptiness fades away and fullness becomes a reality.

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