When I was a younger Christian, I heard a great deal about the “God-shaped hole” that existed in each of us. Only God could fill that hole. Left unfilled, the hole drove people to despair as they tried to fill it with one inappropriate plug after another. Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, riches, power, fame…nothing can fill that hole but God.
At least that was what I was told.
Now that I am older, I wonder. It seems to me that perhaps that hole still exists, but it also seems just as true that people are satisfied with whatever usurping item they’ve used to plug their personal hole. So close does the phony plug resemble the real patch, at least in their experience, that people go on just as happy with the fake as with the real thing.
Perhaps ours is the first generation so overwhelmed with godless plugs that we can endlessly try one after another, getting just enough jolt from a new patch that we’re sustained until the next one comes along. Ours is such an entertainment-based culture that the ennui of daily living that once plagued mankind enough that it sought for greater answers may no longer exist amid the endless amusement park of this 21st century.
Fact is, I don’t encounter as many people who seem unhappy with whatever plug they’ve chosen to fill the God-shaped hole, inappropriate or not. Ennui hasn’t set in like it once did. An XBox, Netflix, a decent paycheck, a stocked liquor cabinet, a hobby or two, an occasional descent into a beloved vice, a few positive thoughts, and some mumbled prayers now and then seem to cut it for a lot of people. No sense of the God-shaped hole even exists for them. Sure, psychoactive prescription drugs abound, but doesn’t everyone take them? Whatever gets you through the night is all right, right?
It makes me wonder how small we Christians have made God that the lost look at us and find such simple, yet total, substitutes for Him.