The infinite abyss

All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.

And yet after such a great number of years, no one without faith has reached the point to which all continually look. All complain, princes and subjects, noblemen and commoners, old and young, strong and weak, learned and ignorant, healthy and sick, of all countries, all time, all ages, and all conditions.

A trial so long, so continuous, and so uniform should certainly convince us of our inability to reach the good by our own efforts…. What is it then that this desire and this inability proclaim to us, but that there was once in man a true happiness of which there now remains to him only; the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present? But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable Object, that is to say, only by God Himself.”

Blaise Pascal

Pascal was born in the 17th century. Back then they didn’t have computers, fancy cars or any of the other conveniences from our digital age. And yet he discovered that still people were striving for something to fill the void inside – the great, the infinite abyss.

Some centuries later a famous rock band sang „I can’t get no satisfaction“. And isn’t this true? Higher, bigger, richer … happier? Can we ever be totally satisfied with our situation, our bank account, our job, our home, our relationship status? Isn’t satisfaction merely satisfiction instead?

We always want, what we can’t have. But isn’t the appealing green of our neighbour’s grass at the end of the day a matter of perspective? And once we made our way over the fence, it turns out just as green as the one we left behind?

So what can fill this void inside of us that words can only describe inadequately? The solution is to look to the giver not the gift. Only when we look to Him can we be truly satisfied. Wealth, reputation, prestige and pleasure can be satisfying when we enjoy them in the presence of our maker. The question is do I let myself become desperate and frustrated about the fact that nothing ever seems to be enough? Am I angry with God cause He doesn’t seem to be good to me, by withholding the things that I think I need for happiness. Or do I let this void inside cause me to draw closer to God, who longs to fill me with His love and purpose?

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