Filling the Void
They sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. Matthew 14:35-36
While mired in the misery of my addiction, part of me desperately wanted recovery. I truly believed that God could help me, so, I sort-of reached out to him, asking for transformation. In retrospect, I can see that I failed because I reached for him with hands that were still clutching my pills. I remained unwilling to do anything to change while asking God to change me. My effort was less than half-hearted, and the results were predictably meager. I had a void that required filling, but I couldn’t be filled with God while filling myself with drugs.
Today’s passage describes those who desperately reached out to Christ for transformation. The passage says that those who were sick, and who touched him, were miraculously healed. These unfortunates didn’t stay where they were, crying out for Christ to come touch them. They did whatever it took to find him, desperately reaching out to make contact. They would have given anything to find a new life and so, they found it in touching God.
The same is true for us. We all seek something. We all hunger for joy, pleasure, purpose, life, and meaning. Some of us find it in food, some in sex. Others find it in pills or a bottle. Still others find it in money, work, pride, appearance, or status. Some of us use these things to self-medicate for depression, anxiety, childhood wounds, or feelings of inadequacy, while others just seek to experience more pleasure. Whatever our condition, we all have a void and most of us seek to fill it in self-destructive ways that prevent us from finding God.
God made this void which he meant to be filled with only him. The challenge for us is the same as it was for those in today’s passage. Daily, we must do whatever it takes to abandon whatever keeps us from God. Daily, we must reach out, making the effort to seek him. It is only being filled with God that we satisfy our hunger the right way. He is the only adequate answer to life’s deepest needs, and we find true satisfaction and life only in him.