June 1, 2008
NEED TO FILL UP?
Last summer our family drove east from Bakersfield, through the Mojave desert, and into the wastelands of Arizona and New Mexico. It is amazing how empty the land is as one heads east. For hundreds of miles, as far as the eye can see, there is nothing but distant mountains, rocks, and wide open space.
Often times we feel like that. Someplace within us, often times unexpressed or not understood, is an unfilled emptiness - something that is missing - something that is unfulfilled.
These times of emptiness most often come as I go through difficult or painful experiences. Often the emptiness is accompanied by a sense of hopelessness or sadness. Some have told me they also feel despair and/or depression.
Seeing what is happening in the world around us - the earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, food shortages, the rising price of gas, the economy tanking, wars and conflict, the decay of society, and on and on… even the issues that we often face in our families and the places where we live our lives - it becomes easy to feel despair, hopelessness, and empty within. How can we be adequate to live in such times?
What I’ve found, while I’m looking within myself for understanding or for the solution to my problems, is my own inadequacy. What I have come to understand is that self reliance, apart from dependence on God, is futility and only leads to further emptiness.
Over time, thinking through and experiencing how God works in my life, I have been struck by an amazing truth: In the solitude of my own futile self-reliance God desires to restore the fellowship between us and to fill the emptiness in my life!
Consider Paul’s encouragement to the Roman believers: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6,8)
While we were still sick, weakened by sin, focused on ourselves, empty and separated from God, unable to help ourselves, God did what was necessary to restore us to Himself and to meet our deepest needs.
The Apostle John writes, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the means of forgiveness for our sins” (1 John 4:10)
God’s love is absolutely contrary to the self focused, self centered, selfish lust that our society has settled for as an excuse for love. It isn’t I who pursues God, but God who has reached to me. It is God who desires, and is able, to fill the emptiness of my life.
Hebrews 13:5b,6 says, “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?’”
These are some of the many promises of God for each one of us. While surrendering our lives to God and trusting Him to work may not bring immediate visible results by solving our circumstances, we do gain confidence that the God who has pursued us, loves us, and will not forsake us, is already at work helping us and will supply to us what we need to go through our circumstances.
In the times when we find ourselves weak and empty may we learn to trust God’s promises and turn towards Him. If we are willing to trust Him with our lives and circumstances He will fill us.
Let me also suggest the following passages for you to read and to consider God’s promises to you: Psalms 23, 107; Isaiah 40:31; Romans 8:26-39; Hebrews 12:1-3. May God richly bless you with His peace and presence.