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Empty Fullness

Empty_yet_full_izabela_haburEmpty Fullness.  It's one of the most common, powerful, and yet perplexing paradoxes I've experienced.  And it's exactly what I am once again, right in the middle of.

I feel empty. Profoundly empty.  As I think about officiating at my mother-in-law's funeral this weekend, I am almost overwhelmed with my own sense of emotional emptiness.

I have no strength, no drive, no confidence -- nothing at all that I can bring to the table in order to comfort my wife's family and then deliver an eulogy and conduct a service that will touch and bless them.

Yes. This will be the fourth family member funeral that I've conducted in the past 18 months (my mom, my grandmother, my father-in-law, and now my mother-in-law), and I'm sure that this is a factor which is contributing to this emotional void I feel.  But it's certainly not the first time I've felt such things.  Over the years I have often felt overwhelmed with my own sense of emptiness -- times when I felt I had nothing worthwhile to teach, or lead in worship, or offer in encouragement or comfort to others.

Strangely, however, the emptiness is only half of this reality, and the Apostle Paul's affirmation describes it well:

Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. 2 Cor. 12:9 (NLT)

It is when I am weak, that through Christ I in fact am strong.  It is when I am empty, that I am truly full.

Today, I may indeed feel profoundly empty, but by the time of my mother-in-law's funeral this weekend, I know that I will once again experience the grace of fullness, and because of Christ, have something worthwhile and God-honoring to give to my grieving family members.

Empty fullness.  It's a paradoxical reality that, although experienced many times, continues to baffle me.



Photo credit: © Izabela Habur, iStockphoto.com

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I have been experiencing the same thing lately. I have been asked to preach here at work next Thursday and right now I feel so empty and dry. However I have learned that when I am empty is when God can do his best... bring on the emptiness if it brings God the glory!

I think that in the midst of the storms of life we get so caught up in things that we forget how "BIG" God really is and that He is there for us. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. He is our strengh in weakness. Jesus also promises that:

"If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, and he may abide with you forever;" John 14:15-16

I pray Holy Spirit fall upon Chris and comfort him and give him the strength he needs to accomplish the difficult things ahead. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Michelle,

Thank you for sharing. I'm not sure that we "forget" how big and powerful and helpful God is. Rather, I think that our faith wavers and subtle sort of doubting sets in. On the other hand, I also think that our pride becomes a stumbling block... despite what God has done in the past for us, we give in to the temptation to trust ourselves over trusting him.

Lord have mercy.

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