Once there was a woman with nothing. No husband, no income, no food, no prospects. Nothing. She was the mother of two boys, but her late husband’s creditor was already on his way to claim them as slaves. I think in some small way, I can relate to that.
She came to the man of God with nothing. And he said to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a little oil.” II Kings. 4:2
One terrified, desperate woman was about to learn something about nothing. She must have listened in amazement to the prophet’s instructions.
“Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons.” II Kings 4:3-4
It was as if the prophet were saying, “Listen, we don’t have enough emptiness here. I want you to collect all the emptiness in the neighborhood, as much as you can beg, borrow or finagle. Then go inside. So the widow gathered up all the nothing she had and all the nothing she could borrow and went into her empty house with sons who were no longer her own.
Can you see God just smiling saying: It was just enough nothing”? After God miraculously filled all the empty vessels with oil, she took the proceeds of her hoarded emptiness turned fullness and paid her debts, redeemed her boys and earned a living.
I am drawn by our Lord’s interest in nothing. How His eyes seem to linger on the empty things. How he prefers to lead His people through empty places. How He relishes wresting beauty and splendor out of a vacuum. How He smiles at an inventory sheet that tallies zero. How he suddenly comes through with the money you need to pay that bill.
Remember the time Jesus noticed six large stone water jars. Those jars were empty. Profoundly empty. Which was just enough nothing to catch His attention. He filled them all with the best wine at the wedding.
There’s just something about nothing that moves God’s hand. Job reflected how the Creator spreads out the northern skies over empty spaces and suspends the earth over nothing. Read it in Job 26:7. He began everything with nothing and He’s been beginning with it ever since.
It is the emptiness of a slowly withering branch, dying for the sap of the vine.
It is the emptiness of a Samaritan woman who brings an empty bucket to a Well deeper than she knows.
It is the emptiness of a prodigal who suddenly wakes to a empty heart.
It is Simon Peter who had fished all night, and his nets were still empty.
How I have dreaded and feared those seasons of emptiness in my life. However, if I am to lay hold of His best provision, I must admit to an emptiness that is vast. How can I petition my Heavenly Father to meet some pale, puny and feeble bit of emptiness? It’s better to have a Grand Canyon in my heart and come to Him.
I dare say most of us drive into His provision station and ask Him to top off our tank. I believe it is better to coast in on fumes with a flat tire and an expired credit card. I must not come to His banquet table thinking I am full and ask for a sip of coffee or a breath mint. How insulting that would be to our Heavenly Father. I must cry out from my hunger and my emptiness and my nothing. The truth is whether I realize it or not, I am always in deep need of Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, my nets would be empty, my jars would be empty and my bucket would be dry. His presence and His blessing is actually the blood in my veins and the air in my lungs. In other words, my life.
So today, I do thank God for nothing. For it is my nothing–my emptiness that brings me to Him and keeps me there.