"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 (NIV)
Growing up I had a plan for how I could make my life good.
Get a good education. A good job. A good husband. A few good kids. A good house. A good flowerbed out front. And a good mini-van parked in the driveway.
Then life would be... good.
Eventually, I had all that good stuff. I was thankful for it all. I loved my family to pieces. The mini-van wasn't all I thought it would be, but I felt like an official mom driving it. So even that wound up being good.
But something inside me still felt hollow. A little off. A little lacking.
So, I reasoned I needed something else to do. Something where I could use my gifts and talents. And while these things were fun and satisfying on one level, they too fell short when it came to that deep place ringing with the echoes of empty.
Empty is a heavy load to bear. The mystery of wanting to be filled but not knowing how or what could fill the deep soul is a gnawing ache. A search that can seem both futile and shattering at times.
When you try and try, always feeling like the answer is just around the corner, and then it isn't, it can split your heart wide open and leak dry all your reserves.
It can make you feel unsatisfied and frustrated with everything. Even those you love. Maybe especially those you love.
So you fake a smile and keep putting one foot in front of the other. But eventually you stop peeking around the next corner hoping the answer is there. History tells you it isn't. And wrapped in that perception is the noose that strangles out all hope.
Sadly, this is where many women live.
I know this place because I lived there. I struggled there.
And I guess I'm just wondering if you or someone you love might be there as we begin another year. A New Year. It's tough when everything around you screams "Happy New Year!" and you feel anything but.
It quite honestly stinks.
So, I'm not going to pretend you'll suddenly feel super happy after reading this.
But what I can promise is a string of words that explains a lot. An answer that is sure and solid and true and full of the breathless wonder of a hope rediscovered.
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved," (Acts 4:13).
Salvation can't be found in a person.
Even a good husband — good children — a good friend makes a very poor God.
Salvation can't be found in anyone or anything else.
No education or job or house can save you.
There is no other.
And I'm not just talking about saying we're a Christian. Just following the rules and really following Jesus are two totally different things.
Going through the motions of religion won't ever satisfy. It's only when we bend down low, open our heart in complete surrender, and say, "Jesus, it's You. Only You. There is no other. There is no other possession or person or position that can ever fill the deep soul place shaped only for You."
This is my New Year's prayer this year. Though I've been saved for a long time, I want to recapture the essence of this "no other" reality.
And really live like this is true.
Because it is. True.
Dear Lord, forgive me for trying to fill the empty places of my soul with people, possessions and positions. I want to know what it means to have You, Lord, as the satisfier of the deep places meant only for You. Show me. Teach me. Lead me. And I will follow. In Jesus' Name, Amen.