Feeling Empty. Finding Full.

February 26, 2017

Ever feel depleted? Like you have nothing else to give? No strength to draw from or even sanity to think straight?


As women, wives and mothers it is easy to feel as though the needs around us are too great, never satisfied and always clamoring for more of our attention. More of our time. More of the energy we were already deficient in.


Maybe you are like me and often feel like you simply do not have any more strength to give. There is no more love in the reserve to dish out, and patience certainly ran dry a long time ago.


Maybe the cupboards in your home (spiritually and physically) are bare, and you just don’t even know how to fill them again.


You are not alone, and we are not the first women to ever feel like this.


In 1 Kings Chapter 17 we are introduced to the Old Testament prophet of Elijah and  his interactions with a widow from the town of Zarephath. Sounds like an exotic place to live doesn’t it? And perhaps it had been once, but with a lingering drought in the region, that city and its inhabitants were all but dried up.


Scripture tells us that God lead Elijah there in order for his physical needs to be met by a woman who was barely surviving herself. In fact, when he asks her for something to drink and for some food, she tells him, “I have nothing…only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die,” 1 Kings 17: 12.


This is who God chooses to heap on the burden of another mouth to feed? She is running on empty already, and God purposefully sends an additional need to meet her way. It hardly seems fair does it?! Who does God think He is to ask such a limited being to conjure up unlimited resources? Who indeed.


Elijah listens to the woman say she has nothing, then tells her to not be afraid, but to make HIM some bread with what she has and THEN make something for herself and her son. (The audacity!) “For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the Earth,’ ” 1 Kings 17:14.


So then the woman had a choice, and it’s the same one we have today. Is she going to believe what God says and then obey, or not? Even though she herself is empty, will she choose to follow the words of the Lord, trusting in His provision to fill?


The very next words in the passage are: “And she went and did as Elijah said…The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that He spoke by Elijah,” 1 Kings 17:15-16.


Fullness in emptiness. Provision in lack. Strength in weakness. The ways of God will not always make sense, but He will always back up what He promises.


  • If God has asked us to love our families well, don’t we think He can help us do that?
  • If God has asked us to show kindness even to our enemies, what would stop Him from desiring to enable us to obey?
  • If God has asked us to be morally pure, can’t we count on Him for strength when we are weak?


The problem is not always that we run empty. Perhaps we were created to need filling.


In her book None Like Him, Jen Wilkin points out that in our weakness we have the opportunity to, “reflect as a limited being the perfection of a limitless God. Our limits teach us the fear of the Lord. They are reminders that keep us from falsely believing that we can be like God. When I reach the limit of my strength, I worship the One whose strength never flags. When I reach the limit of my reason, I worship the One whose reason is beyond searching out,”


Let’s let our emptiness compel us to stay connected to the source of Living Water. The Limitless God of the universe who is crazy enough about us to mercifully allow glimpses of our deep need to be filled by Him.


I’ll leave you dear friend and fellow traveler with this prayer from Ephesians 3:15-19:

“That according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be FILLED with all the FULLNESS of God.”

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