Nancy Guthrie on How Scripture Addresses our Spiritual Emptiness

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Nancy Guthrie shows how spiritual emptiness is not a challenge for God in the stories of Creation, Abraham and Sarah’s longing for a child, and Paul’s prayers over his thorn in the flesh.

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So often, we see the emptiness in our lives as our biggest problem. But when God looks at the empty place in our lives––the empty place left behind by disappointment, by what we thought we would be doing or not doing, by something we’ve desired that we don’t have––I don’t think he sees it as our biggest problem. I think he sees it as his greatest opportunity. Because God does his best work with empty people. He always has.

Think about the way the Bible begins. The Bible begins, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and it was formless and . . . .” What? “Void.” “Empty.” Well, was that a problem to God? I don’t think so. He spoke, and the emptiness was filled with light, and life, and relationship, and purpose, and meaning. Emptiness is not a problem to God.

As we trace the Bible’s story, we come to God calling one man to Himself, Abram. This is the man through whom he is going to accomplish his purposes in the world. But when we get to Genesis 10 and 11, we discover there is a problem. And the problem is that here is Abram––this man who is supposed to be the father of many descendants––but his wife, Sarai, she’s barren and empty. Her womb is empty. And once again, is this a problem for God? Not at all. Even though they are aged, God comes and does a work in their bodies, and Sarai’s womb is filled. Filled with a child, they name him “Laughter.” Her life is filled with joy. Emptiness is not a problem to God.

Emptiness is not a problem to God.

But of course, Sarai is really pointing us toward another woman who will come. And this woman, she too, has an empty womb; however, she doesn’t have an empty womb because she’s too old to have a child, it’s empty because she’s never been with a man. And an angel comes to Mary and he says to her that the Holy Spirit would come and overshadow her and her womb. Out of her emptiness she’s going to conceive the very life of God––the Son of God. Emptiness is not a problem to God.

We have this promise that was promised when Jesus spoke directly to Paul. Paul had came to him about the thorn in his flesh, and Jesus’s answer was, “My grace is sufficient.” He told him, “It’s enough.” He said, “I’m enough.” Now, maybe when you read that line it doesn’t seem like it’s really addressing the deep sense of emptiness you feel. I want to you to understand what Jesus is promising here when he says, “My grace is sufficient.” He’s saying, “I’m going to be enough for you. And I’m going to give my grace to you in the form, and in the timing, and in the quantity in which you need it. I’m going to be enough to fill up the emptiness.”