He is a nice guy. Mild mannered, good natured and maybe a bit cynical, but nice enough. However, nothing is going his way. The “good life” train has jumped the tracks. Circumstances have seemingly been snatched out of his control and appear, to him, cosmically unjust.

Bruce (from the movie, Bruce Almighty) feels convinced that God has treated him unfairly. In fact, Bruce, in

frustration, screams out at God and challenges the way that the “Almighty” hands out His blessings.

God (Morgan Freeman) makes an appointment with Bruce. In a quirky scene God meets Bruce face to face and gives him the ability to choose his own future. God gifts Bruce with all of His powers.

And Bruce immediately begins to do what most of us would do: fill the emptiness in his life by satisfying all his own desires. After a little good natured revenge, the acquisition of lots of stuff and the ability to change the course of history, Bruce develops a deeper hunger, a more obvious emptiness than ever.

Appropriately, all the while, this song is playing in the background:

“Does the world seem gray with empty longing, wearing every shade of cynical?

And do you ever feel that there is something missing?

There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us and the restless soul is searching.

There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us and it’s a void only He can fill.” — Plum

Bruce gorges himself on everything he wants and yet, nothing satisfies. He finds himself soul- cramping empty.

Aren’t we all a bit like Bruce? Shaking our fists at God, “Okay, the gloves are off! Go ahead and smite me, oh mighty smiter!”

But we all know that if we were to get everything we want, the advantages, the glamor, the power, we’d be even more miserable. Unfulfilled, trapped in excess, and still, empty.

It’s true. The most wretched people I know have lacked for nothing of this world but have been strapped spiritually. Bankrupt, desperate, disillusioned.

I think this is why one of Jesus’ first teachings was this:

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.

With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you.

Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are — no more, no less.

That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

You’re blessed when you get your inside world — your mind and heart — put right.

Then you can see God in the outside world. Matthew 5:3-9 MSG

Bruce thought a good job, the right car, and a little respect would fill up the emptiness that consumed him. In the end, God himself was what he wanted. And, God was more than enough.

Larry and Linda Kloster sponsor this column.

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Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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