Many years ago I was in the Atlanta area where I had the joy of teaching at the Christian Authors Guild Writers’ Conference. By the time I left, I was emotionally and spiritually full to the brim! Yes, I was full…but my gas tank was nearly empty. And there was no gas anywhere around. That was Saturday evening. It was Monday before my husband and I were able to find gas and get back on the road. It was not a good feeling.
We don’t like running on empty, do we? And yet, sometimes that’s exactly where God wants us to be, because that’s when He can show Himself for who He really is.
I remember a passage my youth pastor shared on the story of the Widow’s Oil in 2 Kings 4. The widow owed debt, but all she had of worth was a small amount of oil. But by following Elisha’s instruction and trusting God’s power, she was able to fill more than enough jars of oil from that small amount, allowing her to pay her debt and still have money to live on.
That story made me focus on the concept of emptiness. I admit–I don’t like it. I don’t like being empty. I don’t like not having enough gas; I don’t like looking at next year’s calendar and seeing holes in the schedule. Instead of emptiness, I like to be full. Really full. I like knowing what’s coming up for the next year, and that I’ll have enough money to pay my ministry expenses. (Or more importantly at this point–that I’ll have enough money to pay for my GAS!)
While I listened to my pastor’s comments, I found a note I had written in my Bible years ago, probably the words from another pastor’s sermon: “If you’re not experiencing the power of God, maybe you’re not empty enough.”
I took it right through the heart.
God is present and active in my life and ministry. I’m constantly amazed at how He’s blessed the work of this ministry and allowed me to share in the joy of leading women and writers to a deeper understanding of who He is.
But the truth is, it’s been a busy year with lots to do. And even though I love every minute of it, I sometimes feel weary to the point of exhaustion. Sometimes I just feel empty. But could it be that I’m not empty enough? Could it be that God wants me to drain the last few drops of me and allow Him to fill me more completely with Himself?
When we can take care of ourselves and are working in our own power, we’re not depending on God to be who He is. We can only experience the fullness of His power when we’re at the end of us and our strength–the end of our money, our patience, and our hope. The end of our trust in who we are as writers and speakers.
Emptiness is a gift from God to show us who He is and to bring us closer to Him and His power. But we have to be willing to be emptied. We have to be willing to be bone dry and have no one except Him around to fill our tanks.
Are you–am I–experiencing the full power of God in our lives, our writing, our speaking, and our ministries? If not, then we must ask ourselves this question:
Am I empty enough?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.