The value of emptiness

Let’s say you are a pastor. And let’s say you’ve studied the Bible your entire life. You are supposed to know a lot of things. Indeed, your mind has been filled with many words, and they are close to your heart. But what if one day the words fall flat? What if they suddenly don’t bear fruit in your mind? What if they become like the seed thrown on rocky ground, where they cannot find a place to put down roots?

One possibility is that you have hardened your heart. You have effectively told God that you are done with this business. You have a better way, perhaps a new word that is better than the old word. You’ve decided that the only way to embrace the new is to reject the old.

However, another possibility is that you have simply seen the value of your own knowledge—that it is bankrupt. You have accumulated wisdom over the years like money in a bank account. It appeared that your wisdom was growing. With each new learning, your account grew richer. You became more and more qualified to do what you do. At least that’s the way it seemed.

What then of this sudden experience of emptiness? How can you even proceed in your role if you no longer have the answers? If the words that fed you so richly are now failing to nourish you? You have no idea how to do this! And this in itself is wonderful news. It seems like a crisis, but it is actually a great gift. At this moment, you have become the most fertile ground God could possibly find. You have become an empty vessel, waiting to be filled…and poured out again.

If, when you read, you are only led into confusion, relax your grip and let your hands be empty. Recognize the truth that you never contained His truth. Let go and fall in this state of limbo. By holding on, you only prolong it. When you’re truly falling, it will feel like death at first. But it is actually new life. Once again, God is free to move.