OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #277 Empty is Not Void
When I think of the word “empty” my first thought is of disappointment. An empty plate in the fridge means the boys ate the leftover meatballs. When the needle of the gas gauge sits on E, I’ll have to make another trip to the pumps. However, an empty bank account may prevent me from filling the empty tank. An empty cupboard, so the nursery rhyme goes, frustrated Old Mother Hubbard. Empty words are broken promises.
“Hollow” is a related word with the same letdowns. A hollow potato is rotten in the centre. We gain nothing in a hollow victory. To be hollow-hearted is to be insincere.
That was the feeling I had as a child when I discovered that my Easter candy was hollow. What kind of sick joke was that, to build up my milk-chocolate hopes, only to have them crack like the sides of bunny under my teeth?
Empty and hollow are not always disappointing. I love finding empty parking spots. PEI, where I grew up, is covered with pretty farms located in hollows between the hills. I have secret compartments in my desk, small hollow spots perfect for hiding trinkets.
Empty was good on Easter Sunday. When the women first spotted the empty tomb, they didn’t yet know what it meant. Had someone removed Jesus’ body without telling them? It took a little while to understand that the empty tomb was a good thing. “He is not here; he has risen,” and angel said.
Imagine their joy as Mary, and Mary, and Peter and John, and soon all the others began to realize the empty tomb meant Jesus was alive. The impossible was possible with God. Empty was where hope began.
Genesis tells us that before creation the earth was without form and void, another way of saying it was empty. God took that emptiness and turned it into something. He brought order form the chaos and turned nothing into something. That’s what the resurrection was. The empty tomb was not void.
We tend to see empty as the end. We had something and now it is gone. But with God, empty is the beginning. This is the place where God can fill us up once again. I wish there were an easier way, but it seems we often don’t discover how powerful God is until we’re sucking the fumes of our empty. In this way empty is where hope begins.
May God fill your empty on this Easter Monday morning. Be on fire.
OnFire is a bi-weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Apr 9, 2012. To subscribe or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com. Blog located at www.onfireletter.blogspot.com.