I was walking in our local mall today, as I'm wont to do most every day, and as I also most always do, seeing the people I walked by. Most times, I try to look at their faces, and in doing, pray His blessing upon them, especially the blessing of His Life and Presence. Today, in my "journey," I passed a lady, most likely in her late 30's. As I looked at her, I saw that she had lost her left leg below the knee, and was using a specially constructed metal one. I also saw that it appeared that some disfigurement may have occurred to the right side of her face, mainly around her eye. Our eyes met, and though I don't know exactly what she may have been thinking, I wondered if she thought I was feeling pity for her, for her missing leg and damaged eye. What I was feeling was His heart, and I whispered this prayer; "Father,if this lady today is somehow feeling that her missing leg or damaged eye somehow makes her less complete, less whole, less of anything, please Father, open her mind and heart to know that true wholeness, the only real wholeness, is found in you alone."
In 30 plus years of ministry, the one common search I have seen in lives both outside of and within the church, is for something or someone to make them complete, to make them whole. This completeness is sought in success, goods, homes, and most of all, relationships and people. We have a hunger to feel this completeness, and invest all of our lives into finding it....and always failing. There is something, Someone always missing. The world doesn't know who that Someone is, but we in the church profess that we do, though our lives too often say that we don't. That we don't know He is the One at all. We pursue wholeness with the same blind ambition that the world does, and it shows forth from the pulpit to the pew. Our lips may say "Amen" to Acts 17:28, but our hearts say something totally opposite.
Someone said that we need to stop saying that "God is enough." We need to speak and live out the witness that in every place and in all things, He is more than enough. He gives of Himself lavishly, but we receive Him, if we receive Him at all, in very small increments. And the evidence for this is everywhere. We don't know contentment, and so we search every means of finding it. In position, possessions, or people. The fact that true contentment and peace can never be found in these eludes us...so we keep searching....and missing Him in all of it.
I think again of that good woman in the mall. They say that for a very long time after the loss of all or some part of a limb, the person can still "feel" as if it is still there. We see this in relationships too, and nowhere more than in the case of divorce. Divorce is a spiritual ripping apart of one "body" in Him. The healing process for that is not one of months, or even a year or two. Inserting an artificial limb doesn't "feel" like the real one, and neither will an artificial relationship. Unless we allow Him to not only heal the terrible wound of it. And He heals by filling it with Himself. In seeking substitutes, we invite ourselves to experience cycles of continued broken relationship, or at best, completely unfulfilling ones. Most of us have heard this. Most of us say it's true.Most of us never live it out. We seek wholeness in things and people that can never supply it. The result is a trail of destruction. In our lives, and the lives of those we touch.
We live in a world that is passing away. Loss will always be a part of it. Loss of precious loved ones through death. Loss through abandonment. Loss of a youth and vitality we thought would never end. The Father understands the pain and heartache of every loss. We need to understand that in Him alone do we found the healing and wholeness our hearts longs for.
I titled this "Missing Parts," but it's not about the parts we are missing. It's about the Wholeness in Him that we've likely never had. My prayer for you, for me, for us all, is that we too will come to know that only in Him are we made whole. And that until we know such wholeness, we'll accept no artificial substitutes. Right now, in some part of your life, the enemy whispers that you lack, and therefore, you're not complete. Christ whispers an invitation to come to Him....and be whole, be complete, be healed. Be His.