Ash Wednesday – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Can you imagine absolute nothingness?
We often speak of nothingness; we speak of having nothing; we speak of everything around us being gone. But is it true?
A tornado comes through and destroys an entire town; the media show up and interview the stunned residents, who in their bewilderment, look around and say they have nothing left.
Is that true?
Not exactly. They still have the clothes on their back. Some of their possessions still remain, even if they are buried under a pile of debris, and for as desolate as their town now looks, there is still more than when this country was first settled.
Or a family goes on a long trip, and after a while, someone makes the seemingly obvious statement that there is nothing to do, and there is nothing to look at outside of the windows.
Is that true?
Not really; the options for things to do may be limited; and the roadside scenes may be repetitive, but to say that there is nothing would not be true.
The same is true when one says there is nothing in the bank account, nothing in the house to eat, nothing in the world that can make them happy.
Sometimes our definition of nothing and the actual definition of nothing do not always line up.
And so it is very difficult to imagine nothing. Nothing means the absences of absolutely everything; and in our modern day and age, that is a very difficult concept to imagine. You can try by closing your eyes for a period of time, but even there, you still have your imagination and memories of what is around you.
And so when you hear that before God created the heavens and the earth that there was absolutely nothing, we do not quite know what that means. How can there be nothing?
What does nothing mean?
And so we develop theories such as Big Bang or evolution, because they demand that something be present. They demand that something is there; even if that something is only a single atom. There cannot be nothing, because even when there is nothing, we imagine there still has to be something.
Because our greatest fear is that if there was a time when there was absolutely nothing; if there was a time when God truly existed without you and I; if there was a time when there truly was nothing; than that means God does not really need you.
If God could survive before with absolute nothingness, than He can do it again.
You do not like to think in those terms. You often think in the reverse of those terms: you think that you can survive very well without God, without Christ in your life. You like to think that you do not need an all-powerful God who watches over you all night and all day; you like to think that you can venture out into the world and try it out on your own for a while.
That is where sin leads you: away from God; away from the life He has given to you; away from the world which He has created for you.
Satan convinces you that if God could live without you, than you can live without God. And he shows you how the whole world seemingly operates just the same whether or not you acknowledge the God who created heaven and earth.
And the result of a life without God, is nothingness. Not an earthly nothingness where you still have something attached to your name, but an eternal nothingness; a nothingness that you cannot ever truly experience here on earth; a nothingness that is far darker and far emptier than even before the creation of the world.
That nothingness is the eternal fires of hell; where you are separated from Christ for all eternity. That is the true nothingness that you cannot escape, that you cannot overcome, that you cannot fill. A nothingness that exceeds all other forms of nothingness.
But that is for later; that is for those who try to live their lives today without Christ.
But notice I said they try to live their lives without Christ.
For even in our world today, where we claim nothing, Christ is still present. Christ is present calling people to His Church and to His Word through the Holy Spirit. Christ is present in your lives each and every day, watching over you, guarding and protecting you from sin and every evil.
For those who have nothing; for those who see nothing around them; for those who think all others have abandoned them: they still have Christ.
You still have Christ.
As long as you are in this world; as long as you confess the name of Jesus Christ, you have something. You have a Savior who loves you. You have a Redeemer who died for you. You have a God who did not want to live in nothingness, but who wanted to create a world so that He might love you.
And when you have Christ, you will never know nothingness. When you know Christ, you will one day know the full and eternal glories of Paradise everlasting, when you will be with Christ, forever.