IS THIS ALL THERE IS?!
This party was the wrong time for me to have an existential crisis. (Here’s a little background on how and why it happened…) God, religion, church were just cultural background noise for anyone like me growing up in East Texas. Nothing to take too seriously. After moving away from home to attend university my adventure in wine, women and song really started in earnest. (Not much song, to be honest.)
I had everything I had hoped to have at this point in life but by the Spring I felt totally empty, continually asking myself – “Why am I so restless and basically dissatisfied with my life?!” I guess it came to a head at a Friday night party – the band was rocking, the beer was flowing, the hot date was dancing and I was thinking… “Is this all there is?!”
Shortly afterward a speaker challenged the social club I had joined to think about our lives. He referred to a young Frenchman from centuries before – the physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal – who described mankind’s existential crisis as a God-shaped vacuum which couldn’t be filled by any created thing but only by the Creator.
That’s the moment I realised my life basically had such a hole that neither religion nor the pleasures of life could ever satisfy. The speaker explained that we have all rejected God and lost connection with the one who had made us. And I could never experience the life I was created for, until that connection was made. He explained that Jesus Christ, who came as God in human form, was the bridge.
There was no way a self-centred person like me could make up for the many ways I had offended God. As Pascal put it, “an infinite abyss” separated me from God. And that’s why Jesus was such good news to me.
Later that evening I sat in my room alone looking down at the threadbare carpet that seemed to sum up my life. I admitted there was a God-shaped vacuum in my life and asked to be forgiven and rescued from my selfish way of living. I trusted Jesus to put me in a right relationship with God. I still live with my weaknesses and many struggles, but I have seen Him give me real peace in some horrible situations and guidance in confusing times. It’s a life filled with purpose that I was unable to find on my own. That’s my story – and I’m confident the best chapters are yet to be written!