The God of Empty Spaces
Empty spaces in life seem long and painful. They break us. But it seems that empty spaces are one of God’s select methods of dealing with His children. In that sense empty spaces do have meaning and purpose in your life. It proves that you are God’s child and valued in His eyes. In all likelihood God is answering prayers of your early years through these empty spaces. But its meaning might be hidden from your eyes now.
The loss of meaning might be felt because of the inactivity during the empty spaces. But how do you conclude that inactivity was wasted? Do you see the roots form underneath the soil once you planted the seed? You do not. Likewise, God is active in your life even in your empty spaces; when the Spirit of God hovers over the formlessness, emptiness and darkness of your life. It is this unseen but purposeful activity of God that highlights the seemingly wasted time of your life. During those times God was forcing you to dig your roots deeper into Him.
But then you might say that those were the best years. You might say that like the locusts, the cruel one has eaten away your years. All that is true. No doubt about it. But then who is your God? Is He not One who restores twice as much as you had before? Is He not One who repays you for the years the locusts have eaten? It is through such restoration experiences that one gets to know the loving care of God and His absolute command over all forces of this world. They obey His command to do you good.
That is fine, you might say. But what about the waiting. That is terrible. Not knowing when God will act and how He will do so makes waiting difficult. That is true again. But what about the perseverance that God builds into you through this waiting? How else would you gain Christ’s perseverance in your life? Without it no one succeeds in His walk with God. Nor does one become able to do any lasting good in this world without perseverance. It is one of the best products that God has designed to reach you through the empty spaces of your life.
What about hope? The hope that God gives in your heart does not disappoint. Because your waiting is centered on God. Not on man. Nor is your trust in chariots or horses. But you also would admit that before passing through empty spaces in life, you too had trusted in your own strength and wisdom and in your plans for your future. Then the empty spaces came. You were pushed out of your nest. You felt the wind and the fall downwards. But then you also came to know of the everlasting arms that was underneath you to hold you up.
Of course, now you might say of empty spaces that they were barren years. Great. But how did you learn to bear fruit in life? Or how do you account for your great fruitfulness today? Ah, you see the point! Barrenness hurt you so badly that you cried out to God in great anguish and bitterness of soul. Was not God preparing you through that barrenness? Do you not see its fruit today? Barrenness prunes you to the limits. It pains. But it yields greater fruit. This kind of enabling comes from God. But they come through the empty space called barrenness.
These are kind of voices calling in the desert to prepare the way for the Lord. Why the desert? Because God does not cause His highways to be built in between crowded settlements. Instead His favorite is the wilderness. There He causes His way to be prepared. This is because the heart is most receptive in the wilderness. There it can think and meditate. There one also learns to listen to the voice of God in loneliness. And then when he is transplanted into the crowds, he is still able to hear His Master’s voice. His ear thus gets trained in the empty spaces of the wilderness.
Then there is the question of silence. When heaven seems shut down! Knocks at its door are never answered during such times. The God who answers prayer, “Where is He?” you might ask. You might say, the empty spaces in my life are stretching longer than I thought. What will become of me? Should I cling on to hope? Will my confidence in God be rewarded? But answers to questions usually do not come during empty spaces. In fact, most questions are never answered. If they were then there is no need for faith. Though it is not easy, faith settles to believe and trust even though the clouds cover the skies.
That seems to be fine. But then others are looking on. They mock and ridicule. They secretly say that your trust in God has landed you in trouble. You hear them say, “Let your God save you.” “My God, why have you forsaken me?” That becomes your cry. This is the path of the cross. That is when darkness comes. But then your God is God of all the earth. It includes the valleys and the deserts. There the seed will die. But in the time of His choosing; God will bring a yield out of it; a resurrection. Yes, a harvest has been appointed as the yield of your empty spaces!
Why talk more! What about the longing for a pure heart? From where did that desire spring up? Did it not come when you where hit hard by the empty spaces in life? Did not those empty spaces reveal to you the deceitfulness of your own heart? Did not those empty spaces teach you that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit? Did you not then learn that God does not despise a broken and contrite heart? Was that not how you learned to approach God with confidence? All that came from empty spaces in your life; didn’t they?
And what about priorities? God took away your success and allowed you to fail to teach you this valuable lesson. That His kingdom should come first in your life. How else would you have learned it? Of course, failures are bitter. But without them you never learn to ask God what is His will for your life: “What shall I do, Lord?” Only then will your heart be willing to learn. And then alone God shows you what is lasting in life. You should therefore be thankful to God for the empty spaces in your life because what you learned during those times cannot be stolen from you.
Finally, what about the new edge that God has given you? From where did it come from? That sharpening, that brilliance, that wisdom! From where did your people-relationship achieve such grace, such power and persuasion? When you speak, they hear the very words of God through you. They listen because they meet the God you met in your empty spaces; don’t they? They see in you a man to whom God said that His grace was sufficient. They see in you God’s power being made perfect in weakness. In you, then, is Jesus lifted up. That all may see and be saved. This then is the glory of the empty spaces of your life and its very sure reward!