“Exhaustive Emptiness.” I love the phrase. I only wish I had coined it. It came from one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado. It was in a recent devotional of his.
Exhaustive emptiness describes those moments in your day when your spinning your wheels and you don’t see that anything you are doing is accomplishing anything or furthering you down the road.
Exhaustive – tending to drain resources or strength.
Emptiness – the state of containing nothing.
Exhaustive emptiness is being put on hold by an airline when all you want to do is get a refund from a flight that they canceled. (My husband is the king of persistence when it comes to those moments. No airline can out-hold my husband when he is due a refund.)
We all have moments like these throughout our days, weeks, months, or years. Max Lucado calls them seasons of drought. They are the times when you are more focused on the events in your life than you are on the things of God.
Max writes in his devotional, “It’s not too late,”
“God turned the heart of King Cyrus toward the Jews and turned the Jews toward Jerusalem. He prompted the king to give the exiles permission and resources to rebuild the temple. In 538 B.C. a delegation of 50,000 Jews, prompted by God and funded by Cyrus, made the 900-mile trek back to Jerusalem. They rolled up the sleeves of their robes and got to work. Initially, God’s big thing was their big thing.
But after a few years, they began to grow weary. Perhaps the stone-stacking was too tiresome, or the criticism too irksome. Or maybe they began thinking of their own projects; their farms, houses, and businesses. One by one, little by little, person by person, they turned away from God’s big thing and quit working on the Temple. God’s big thing became their small thing.
They concentrated on their own homes and businesses. “We’ll get back to the house of God, they surely reasoned, next week, next month, after the harvest, after the turn of the year.” And, before they knew it, sixteen years came and went. Sixteen years! Enough time for grass to grow and cover the footers of the foundation. Enough time for neighboring nations to conclude that Israel’s God wasn’t worth any devotion. Enough time for a generation of Jewish children to determine that the abandoned temple was a forgotten construction project.
They got off track.”
I’ve been in that season before when my life got off track. The kids began to graduate and go off to college, and one by one their bedrooms became empty and I wondered what to do with the energy that was once needed to pour into them and get them off for their days.
Exhaustive Emptiness. How do you fill it? Max Lucado suggests: “Invite God into those moments. Re-evaluate your priorities, and make God’s big thing your big thing.”
”In the beginning God created the sky and the earth. The earth was empty and had no form. Darkness covered the ocean, and God’s Spirit was moving over the water. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3 NCV.
Only God can take emptiness and stir it up to become a garden. You cannot exhaust God. There is no way your emptiness will drain His resources or strength. And it is never too late to reprioritze a make God’s big thing your big thing.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the pre-sale of my new book “On the Way”
Releasing later this month.
Happy Groundhog Day. Only God can turn your ordinary Groundhog Day into a glorious spring day full of newness