Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Empty Places

In our home school reading yesterday, we were reading the continued tale of the life of a Prussian missionary to England, George Müller. In the part of the story we got to, he had just gotten married to the sister of a British missionary, and together they had made a decision to abolish pew rents in their church--which meant their living went from guaranteed to based on the goodwill of their tiny congregation.

One night, all the food in the house was gone. But George and Mary set the table anyway. They sat down at the dinner hour. They held hands, and they prayed. Not asking God for food--but rather, thanking Him for all he had provided. Thanking Him.

Minutes after their prayer had ended, someone showed up at their door with a whole ham.

That story traveled with me throughout the day. When it comes to this life of ours, it's so easy to focus on what we lack. The things we don't have. The empty places. Sometimes, that's all we can see. It surrounds us. It defines us.

Lack can be such a solid thing. Think about it: what's the absence of light? Darkness. What's the absence of heat? Cold.

Things that are literally nothing in themselves, yet their counterparts are so crucial to us that we feel their absence as a physical thing. And the same applies to things like wealth, food, clothing, cars, houses...all those other things. It applies too to family, friends, churches, school, education.

Things we, as human beings, crave. Need. And when we don't have them, we feel it.

But George Müller taught me something today. He taught me that I shouldn't just pray for the empty places to be filled. I should praise Him for having them. I should praise the Lord my God for taking away what I don't need. I should praise Him for giving me life enough to want. I should praise him for being bigger than a lack, for being the eternal Being that is never absent.

And I should pray knowing that all those empty places...they're just potential, waiting for Him. They're just Him sweeping clean so He can give me what I really need. Because how could He, if I'd filled with junk the places He wanted to fill with promise? If the Müllers had scavenged for moldy bread, why would God have sent a feast?

What plates are we filling today with garbage, just to have something, when we should be waiting for Him to provide the right thing?

Lack will never be easy. It's not meant to be. Not many people in this world ever seek it. But it finds us, in one form or another, always. There is always something more we want. Some hole we see in our lives. Some empty place.

But let's try doing it like the Müllers did. Let's set the table anyway. Let's sit down together, join hands, and praise Him. Praise Him not just for what He will provide, but for the empty places just waiting for Him.

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