Empty Spaces

Once the Christmas tree is up and decorated at our house, we then check for empty spaces. When we stand back and look at the tree, are there noticeable places that need to have an ornament? We then go back and fill these empty places with ornaments so that the tree looks full. Not until all the open spaces are filled are we satisfied with this year’s tree.

At times in our lives, there are empty spaces. That is, we go through those experiences in which we feel as though something is missing. For whatever reason, something has led us to examine our lives, and when we do, we realize something is missing. While life, in general, may still be good, we are still not content with our lives. Life seems incomplete.

Now we sometimes will try many things to fill these empty places. We may try to fill our emptiness with material things, people, pleasures, experiences, and the like, but things still do not feel right. While these things may give us momentary satisfaction, they soon wear off, and we find ourselves with the same empty feelings. Vincent Van Gogh, the famous Dutch impressionist painter, once said, “I am unable to describe exactly what is the matter with me; now and then there are horrible fits of anxiety, apparently without cause, or otherwise a feeling of emptiness and fatigue in my head.

In the book of Psalms, we read an account of how God delivered his people from a time of emptiness and fill them anew with His goodness. In Psalm 107: 4-9, we read, 

Some wandered in desert wastes,
   finding no way to an inhabited town; 
hungry and thirsty,
   their soul fainted within them. 
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
   and he delivered them from their distress; 
he led them by a straight way,
   until they reached an inhabited town. 
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
   for his wonderful works to humankind. 
For he satisfies the thirsty,
   and the hungry he fills with good things. 

The Psalmist writes that God satisfies the thirsty and hungry and He fills us with good things. That is, God knows our empty spaces, and God is the only one who can truly fill them. Jesus would speak the same truth when he says, “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) Jesus is God’s answer to the empty places in our lives. And when Jesus fills these empty places, then we discover the sense of peace, purpose, and contentment that we all desire. We can spend a lot of time trying to fill our emptiness with something other than Jesus. Jesus, however, is the only thing that makes us whole. 

Published by Dr. Philip W. Turner

Since 1991 I have had the joy of serving as Pastor of Pine Street Baptist Church in the community of Oregon Hill in Richmond, Virginia. The people I have met a long the way have inspired me in my daily ministry. I have truly been blessed.

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