I ran into an old friend last Sunday. Well, he ran into me. Literally! His truck hit my Ford Edge right in front of my house as I was leaving for church. You’re always shocked when something like that happens, and then even more shocked when you find out who the other driver is. We’ve known each other for years, so everything was cordial. We exchanged insurance info, and I told him I would get some repair estimates.
At first I thought the damage was superficial, and wouldn’t be too expensive to fix. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Underneath the plastic bumper cover, the painted part that you see, is a whole structure that makes the car safe. You can’t see the structure, and you would probably never know it was there, but it is vital nonetheless. If the inner structure is damaged, the car will never be right. It will always be compromised and less than it should be.
I see people all the time who are damaged internally. Sure, they look fine on the outside, but if you talk to them long enough to get past the surface, “Hi, how are you,” stuff, you will find that they are hurting. Their inner structure is damaged by the past, and it is keeping them from being whole.
They do their best to cope with life, but their inner hurts and struggles keep them from getting ahead. They struggle to make up for their inner deficiencies can take many forms.
If you scratch a bully deep enough you will find a hurting person inside, trying desperately to make everyone else feel as bad about themselves as they do. It never works, and no amount of pushing, shoving or name calling is ever enough. There is never enough peace in hurting others to be whole.
People turn to drugs and alcohol to cover up their hurts. They think if they can just get high enough, or numb enough, they will forget the pain and disappointment they feel inside. On the outside they are laughing, joking, and having a good time. On the inside, no amount of numbness and no high can ever fill that empty void they feel. When they sober up, nothing has changed, nothing has gotten better. In fact, they may have made things worse.
There is no amount of popularity, success or any other outward trapping of life that will fix an inner structure that is damaged. Deion Sanders, the NFL great said this about his life, “I tried everything. Parties, women, buying expensive jewelry and gadgets, and nothing helped. There was no peace. I had everything the world has to offer, but no peace, no joy, just emptiness inside. The Bible describes it in the first chapter of Ecclesiastes as chasing after the wind, and that’s exactly what it was like. I tried to buy myself something to make me happy and I was even emptier than before, because I could see that nothing could possibly satisfy the hunger deep down inside me. All I could do was stay busy, occupy my time, doing whatever I could to keep working so the feelings of emptiness wouldn’t come to haunt me. The pain was horrible.” What emptiness! To the world, and to Deion, it seemed like he had everything, but he knew he had nothing of worth.
In one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Jesus said, “A thief comes only to rob, kill and destroy. I came so that everyone would have life, and have it fully.” (John 10:10)
Just like only a trip to the body shop can fix the inner damage to my car, so only a trip to Jesus can fix your inner damage. Isn’t it time that you quit acting like you have it all together, when in reality you are wasting away inside? Isn’t time you take of the mask of self-sufficiency and admit that only God can help? That emptiness is looking for something to fill it. It’s not fame fortune, or anything else this world can offer. It is a space in your heart that only God can fill. Take the time right now to open your heart and ask God to fill your emptiness and begin healing your broken inner structure. It’s not difficult, and you don’t have to be a theologian or pastor. You just have to be honest with yourself and God. Cry out, he’s good at listening.
Fixing my car and my heart… Jerry