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Finding Purpose Amidst Life’s Emptiness

When Matt was a teenager, he viewed Christianity as a bunch of rules, so he thought to himself, “Why don’t I just wait until I’m old to do that?” 

“And my life was miserable after that,” he admitted. 

“I was just kind of pursuing one thing after another that I thought was going to make me happy—but they all just came up empty.” No matter what he tried, nothing could satisfy the deepest longings of his soul.

The Holy Spirit used that powerful emptiness as fuel to push Matt towards living for Jesus. And after reading Ecclesiastes as a believer, he was shocked at how deeply it connected with how he had felt before becoming a Christian. He said, “I was searching for God in everything else but God—but it’s all just vanity.”

Now that God has given him a sense of purpose, Matt wants to share it with whoever needs it most. That’s why he moved to Japan, where he sees a lot of spiritual apathy. He said, “A lot of my friends who I’ve built relationships with and am trying to share Christ with just don’t care. They don’t see any need for God, repentance, or anything. And we’ve met others who have just kind of hit rock bottom in their lives. They’ve given up on the world and society, and just don’t feel any sense of purpose in life.” 

Knowing exactly how they feel, Matt started reading Ecclesiastes with one such Japanese friend, Hiroto.* And Matt says, “It has really been rocking his world.” After their studies, Hiroto will often share concepts from Ecclesiastes with his online gaming community—and they get into debates over it! Hiroto even told Matt, “You know, when I started this Bible study with you, I was a staunch atheist—but now I’d have to say I’m more of an agnostic.” That puts him one step closer to experiencing God’s abundant life instead of merely existing.

After they finish Ecclesiastes, Matt wants to read the Gospel of John with Hiroto. Matt said, “Ecclesiastes really highlights the limits of human wisdom, but in John 1, God actually comes to us and shows us who He is, offering us the wisdom that we lack.”

After visiting a burial site one day, Matt and some of his Japanese friends got to see portraits of countless people who have passed away. As they looked further and further back in history, they noticed the portraits growing more and more faded. Their faces have long been forgotten, and all the achievements they once worked so hard for have now faded into oblivion—just like Ecclesiastes says. Matt told his friends that day, “If you don’t have any hope—and this world is all there is—that’s a terrible chilling thought. But the only way we can last is if we’re linked with the eternal God.”

Matt used to feel an empty void in his life, but now God has filled it with life and purpose. Help him share these treasures with his Japanese friends.


*Name changed for security