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Man’s Empty Search for God’s Gifts

Man’s Empty Search for God’s Gifts

"Without God in This World"

Paul J. Bucknell


One of the greatest signs for God's existence is our need and desire for what He represents. Many are the takers, but few are those who can hold on to what they get. Without knowing God, all His gifts are partial and temporary. God leaves His gifts to become doors to catch a glimpse of God's person and serves as access points to share with people the Gospel.

Deep Cravings

People have deep cravings in their soul because they were made in the image of God. They were made to receive the love, affection, and gifts of God and so, after the fall, deeply sense the vacuum from God’s vacancy. And so, fulfilling these deeper longings of their souls become part of mankind’s chief pursuits. These drives are deep desires that naturally affect their persons and choices.

This vacuum resulting from God’s departure is not only seen in a deep desire for affection, seen in our wants for relationship and acceptance, but in other areas of our lives. For example, we were made to work with God in completing His work, and so we have that inner drive to seek significance from our own work. People seek security to fill that emptiness of God’s presence and peace. Without God, those gaps are significant, and man sinfully seeks to fulfill these deep desires, consciously or unconsciously.

Function of Gaps

Thinking apologetically, I am not sure how many gaps exist because of God’s departure from man, but each forms a door or window to enter the lives of the ungodly and introduce the Gospel.

Once there was a very liberal man with all sorts of sinful sexual practices. We offered to watch his two dogs at a point of need in his life. On his return, he was so thankful for our family’s kind gestures to care for what he cared for and was able to open his life to me without the usual bitterness associated with some who dislike the gospel. He persisted with his liberal talk as we conversed about the Lord, but I could see that he stood firm against the God of the scriptures. And yet, I could see him touched by God’s love through our lives; it was the unseen witness speaking to his heart. The devil was still blinding him to the gospel, but I wonder, if the Lord one day, if He has not yet, save him by bringing this event back to his mind. I summarize this by stating that he, like everyone, appreciates kindness and love, even if it comes from God. He might harden his heart due to his commitment to lasciviousness, but God’s love is something that we all want. A man, however, might welcome the tokens of God’s love, but still reject the Lord until God changes his heart.

Because we all are made in the image of God, these thirsty parts of our inner persons seek to quench their thirst. Pascal summarizes for us in his Pensees (10.148),

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.

Summary

So perhaps we can conclude, that though people seek God’s love and good gifts, they reject His demands. People like the love and goodness associated with God’s presence, and yet are unable–due to the blindness of their souls–see how this goodness is linked up to His person and words. By rejecting Him, though, they reject the very good that they so deeply want. They are close to God, and yet in their heart and belief, very far off. May we not attempt to gain God’s gifts but end up rejecting Him (Heb 6:6-8), but instead see that though His love is desirable and good, it is just one of many signs leading us to know and serve Him (Heb 6:9).

“You have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.” (Augustine)


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