Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Running on empty

This morning's reading from Isaiah 6 sent me straight to that line from the SUP under "Discipline":

"The more you focus on your creator's fullness, the more you perceive your own emptiness. As the creator fills the secret, empty recesses of your soul, your countenance reflects the creator's fullness."

First, Isaiah sees the fullness of his creator ("the train of His robe filled the temple"), then he hears his creator's fullness proclaimed in the song of the seraphim ("the whole earth is full of His glory"), and his natural response is a pretty intense realization of his emptiness ("woe to me! I am ruined!").

BUT in view of his emptiness, Isaiah also sees clearly that his only option is to turn to the One who CAN provide fullness and fill his emptiness. When YHWH asks who He should send, Isaiah eagerly calls out: "Send me!" It's the same with Saul/Paul or Moses and their equally intense encounters with God. When they are exposed to His fullness, they are also confronted with their own emptiness and have no option but to fully surrender to Him and His unique ability to fill them.

The critical thing though, is that the opposite approach doesn't work. I got to thinking about Job next. In his agony and suffering, Job only thinks about his own emptiness at first and, as a result, he falls into despair. It's not until Job starts to look at the emptiness he feels in light of YHWH's unending fullness that he finds peace and fulfillment.

“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”(Job 42)

Dwelling in our emptiness without realizing first YHWH's fullness leads to despair and frustration, but a display of our emptiness via revelation of His fullness leads to complete and total surrender.

Father would we be full of Your light and life today!

1 comment:

  1. In the words of my friend Charlie Hall (who has lately been putting eloquent words to all the inexpressible stuff in my heart):

    "Your grace has found me just as I am... empty-handed, but alive in your hands... singing Majesty, Majesty"


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