The Upside of Emptiness

In my estimation, one of life’s simple joys is a full tank of gas. With a full tank, the kids may be insane and I may be unshowered, but at least I know we have gas in the car. Conversely, nothing makes me grumpier than cranking the car only to look down and notice that the tank is on empty. Of course, this unavoidably happens when we are running late. In an effort to avoid that sinking situation whenever possible, I am of the the persuasion that its best to keep one’s tank over the 1/4 mark. I know others who like to see how far they can get on fumes before pulling over to fill up.  I may or may not have married one, but I digress.


Despite differing opinions on the gas tank situation, humanity seems to share a common and unniversal aversion to emtpiness. We don’t like empty stomachs or empty pockets, and we most certainly do not empty hearts.

We go to great lengths to avoid both seeing and admitting our emptiness, and understandably so. Empty things ache, and aching is uncomfortable; however, there is an upside to emptiness.

Yesterday, only a week after proudly announcing to my husband that I wasn’t collapsing across the summer finish line exhausted, I looked down and found my soul on empty.

I came into my time alone frustrated at my own spiritual and emotional poverty; however, God, being God and a gracious one at that, ordained that I read a timely word, reminding me of the upside of emptiness.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Matthew 5:6. 

Regarding this verse, George MacDonald offers the following refreshing perspective:

“To every soul dissatisfied with itself, comes this word, at once rousing and consoling, from the Power that lives and makes him live- that in his hungering and thristing he is blessed, for he shall be filled. His hungering and thirsting is the divine pledge of the divine meal. The more he hungers and thirsts the more blessed is he; the more room is ther in him to receive that which God is yet more eager to give than he to have….for what is emptiness but room to be filled?” 

Emptiness is a blessing when it is corresponds to fullness.

Empty souls cry out, empty souls crave, empty souls ache for more. And a very full God aches to offer more, to give more, to provide more of Himself to those who cry out to Him.

Jesus is the epitome of fullness; He is the One in whom all the fullness of diety was pleased to dwell (Colossians 1:19). Yet He emptied Himself to the point of literal exhuastion and suffocation on an instrument of sham so that we could experience and remain vitally conntected to His Father’s fullness.

Take heart, empty, aching souls. In the words of MacDonald, “Happy then, ye pining souls! The food you would have is the one thing the Lord would have you have, the very thing He came to bring you.”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s