Empty to Be Filled

In life, we all want to be fulfilled. Or should I say, we all want to be filled? Or, we all want baskets full (perhaps, bank accounts full). Have you ever seen an ad showing you how to empty out anything? Or one telling you what to get rid of?

In his original “Focus on the Family” video series (actually, it was 16mm film in the early 70s!), James Dobson told the story of how he drove 400 miles from Lubbock, Texas, to his home in Austin. He arrived exhausted, plopped down in a chair and turned on the TV only to see the old Toyota ad with the man jumping up, waving his arms, smiling ear-to-ear as the chorus sang, “Oh oh Toyota!” The ad was supposed to make everyone excited about getting in a Toyota and driving away. Dr. Dobson related, “I’d just driven all day in one, and I didn’t feel like yelling “Oh oh Toyota!” He had one and it did not fill him at all. It emptied him out. He was exhausted.

Whatever fills us consumes us
We strive to be filled. And whatever fills us consumes us and our time. And we become identified with the filling. I owned and/or was a partner in several businesses from 1988 through 2008. On and off, I walked with the Lord. But most of my time was consumed with making money. In 2007, my bank account was more than filled. I had no need to ever work again. My dreams for much more mucho were unlimited. I was ridEmpty hands waiting for God to fill theming high. Little did I know at that time that my dreams were about to slip away.

Just one year later, in 2008, the recession hit and hit hard. In a matter of months, our Lord chose to remove the savings of 40 years from my grasp. It was virtually all gone! That hurt. Oh, it hurt. I felt so dumb to have put so much on the line in a new business venture. Now, there wasn’t even enough left for my wife and I to live on in retirement! My ego was shattered, my bank account low and my future a cloud.

I figured we had enough money to survive five years.

What would I do? People were interested in me selling for them, and I knew I could sell. I didn’t have the funds to do what I always was looking to do … start a new venture. I was empty. All that was left was my relationship with the Lord, my wife and family and friends.

A call in the wilderness
It was then, in that empty place, that I heard the Lord’s call to create The Readable Bible. My wife and I set out on the venture, trusting that God would provide. Foolishly, I thought that I would complete the project in five years before our money ran out. That was nine years ago, and there are still three years left to completion. But God has been faithful. While Becky has continued to lead a life of volunteer Christian work and I have worked full time on The Readable Bible, God has provided for us financially through favorable investment returns and some inheritance income.

We have little compared to the past, but we have never been so full. Our life is full of joy as we rely upon Him, not our savings as in the past. Our joy is complete as we see The Readable Bible come into being on his schedule (12 years, not my five-year plan). And our rest is full as we wait upon God who loves us and “is able to do all things—far beyond what we ask or think—according to the power (i.e., His power) at work in us.” (Eph. 3:20 TRB)

May we all stop striving to be full, let go of what we hold on to and embrace what we have within – His power to fill us with satisfaction and joy.

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