having believed in Christ since a very young child...it is really difficult for me to write about what it must be like to NOT believe in the Christian Gospel and in Christs Divinity etc.
I do think there is a "hole in the soul" of every living person (not sure about animals at this stage so am leaving them out of this equation until further info comes to hand ;)).
This "hole in the soul" is a God-shaped hole. It is the empty space that can ONLY be filled by something very difficult to describe in mere words. The hole in the soul cannot be filled by material gain, acceptance, ones talents or beauty; it can't be traded for spak-filler, glue, rubber flashing or anything stop-gappish in nature. The hole in the soul inside all of us requires something quite different to fill it.
Now for those who do not believe in God/Christ/the Gospel - there is an element of disatisfaction that I see in their lives that runs very deep. Many non-christians I know don't even realise they HAVE a hole inside deep within the secret recesses of their being. But I see it and it irks me that they try so hard to "fill" it with all manner of nonsense such as money and possessions etc.
Then there are those who say they're believers and yet the hole in their soul is GiNORMOUS! A total irony really! They have witnessed the most wonderous thing and have been given unreserved inclusion into the most incredible gift and yet.... there is still this big hole in their soul that is "missing" something very important in that recipe.
What is it?
What fills the hole in the soul?
What substance could possibly be available that would fill that gap of self-seeking compensation for lack thereof?
Quite fundamentally I believe it is Hope. My God is a God of Hope as well as Love beyond comprehension :)
Christ for me is my Hope. I can sense Love and I can have Faith but without Hope they're meaningless. Of what point is being a believer if I have no Hope in the Gospel being true? Of what point is my Faith if it does nothing but make me look quite foolish (and I know it can) if I don't have Hope that it will be worth it in the end? Of what point is gaining all this STUFF in my life - including beloved friends, family members, cats, dogs, acquisitions and personal growth if it does not add value to the Hope I have of being with Christ for Eternity.
Hope for me is the positive outpouring of an energy that brings unseeable rewards IN this moment and which I believe will last beyond the grave.
And even if there is reincarnation of the soul - I shall cling to the Hope I have in Christ that it is all going to be worth it. I don't really care right now if I come back as a crustacean because my hole is filled with the Hope that Christ will stand by his promises to me as a human being in THIS life-time! I AM and always will be HIS child and NOTHING will ever separate me from that fact.
All my weaknesses, all my flaws, all my faults, stupidities, acts of violence, abnormalities of mind and heart, my cringe-worthiness, my loves, my joys, my secret desires and dreams, my honesty, my dishonesty, my trust, and untrustworthiness: all of it counts as "something" worthy of consideration by God. It's not arrogance to think of myself like this... he assures me he loves me that much! What that gives me fills that god-shaped gap I have buried inside of me in ways I can only barely comprehend and gives me hope.
I'm grateful for that :)