about writing and life and God

Our emptiness, God’s opportunity

on July 25, 2013

There’s a story about a monkey and a jam jar. The way to catch a monkey is to put something in the jam jar that appeals to the monkey. When he puts his paw in and grabs it, he discovers he can’t get his paw out… unless he gives up the thing in the jar. And that is the one thing he won’t do. So he’s trapped.

Unclenching our paws from the stuff we hang on to – that’s not easy for us either. Or me, anyway! But it came to me today that it is only when I empty my hands that God can fill them with what He wants to give me. My emptiness is His opportunity for generosity and love and grace.

This is fine – so long as we trust in a gracious, generous, and loving God. The devil’s lies twist our trust into distrust – or not quite trust, which is much the same thing. Emptying those hands, opening our hands and hearts and lives to God demands trust that He is Who He says He is, that He is Who Jesus says He is: our loving, always faithful, ever gracious Heavenly Father.

So today – and Thursday is the John-outing day – I decided I would practise emptiness. Each hiccup I met with a silent internal reminder that today was about cultivating emptiness – which meant no grabbing for control that things should be done my way, or to suit me in any way, or give me what I wanted. It meant surrendering all of that and waiting, empty, on God. And it helped.

I came home exhausted and tearful as usual. But then a friend arrived, bearing gifts!

Digital Image

She had planned to drop in on another friend who lived nearby – but found she wasn’t in. So who else lived near who might appreciate a visit and flowers? Yes, me! And it was perfect timing for me. I’d done the collapse and tears bit and was very definitely feeling empty – so my friend’s lovely visit and gift of flowers filled my emptiness! Thank You, Lord.


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