I am forty‑five years old and I feel that my life is sifting through my hands. Perhaps this is not the type of case that you expect me to tell you; I only know that I need to fill this vacuum that I have inside.

I don’t have any desire to go on living. Death seems like a viable option to me. I ask God to have mercy on me, to come into my heart, but it seems like nothing happens.

Please tell me what to do. At times I think I’ve reached my limit.

Dear Friend,

One of the wisest men who ever lived felt just like you do. In his frustration, pondering the emptiness of life, he once said, “And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive.” (1) Although this wise Teacher had all the wealth and opportunities that it is possible to have, it was not enough to fill the emptiness inside him. The book of Ecclesiastes is the story of his search for meaning, and we recommend that you read it through to understand how his journey seems much like yours.

The Teacher of Ecclesiastes tried sensual pleasures, material possessions, and achievement in his quest to find fulfillment. He lived apart from God for many years during his exploration of everything that the world had to offer. But in later life, he finally came to an understanding that helped him find the path to happiness. “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work,” he concluded. “This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (2) In this statement, the Teacher acknowledged that without a relationship with God there are no daily activities, not even the simple acts of eating and drinking, that are enjoyable. Then he revealed the secret to finding true happiness. “To the man who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness,” he said, “but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.” (3)

The Teacher found meaning and happiness only in having a daily relationship with God. He discovered that including God in his mundane everyday activities is the way to please God. Don’t we all want to share our activities with someone we love? As we talk to God through prayer and listen to Him through reading the Bible, we learn more about Him and how to please Him. And as we please Him, He gives us the happiness and meaning that we are desperately searching for.

Near the end of his book, the Teacher summed it all up by saying, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (4) It is true that the path to knowing God begins with a prayer asking Him to come into your heart, but it doesn’t end there. You must recognize His holiness and follow His commandments each day. Only then will the emptiness be filled. Only then will life be worth living.

We also encourage you to find someone who already has peace with God, and let that person accompany you in this journey as you pursue an intimate relationship with God.

Let’s learn from the Teacher of Ecclesiastes,

Linda and Charles
1 Ecc 4:2
2 Ecc 2:24‑25
3 Ecc 2:26
4 Ecc 12:13