Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Gen. 1:2
Besides the fact that it is spring break and I am having days full of time with my children (and void of solitude), I have also found myself in that “nowhere” place emotionally and intellectually. I haven’t been particularly stirred about one concept over another and I haven’t felt that clarity of thought brought on by emotions or relational interactions. I’ve just been in that nowhere land with nothing much to say about it. To write, you’ve got to have something to say, so, I haven’t written.
And then the question came to me, “Is this a moment of life about which the Gospel is silent?” And of course, the answer is no. The person and work of Jesus is not limited to razzle dazzle moments, big stories and witty one-liners. The great Story begins, in fact, with nothing. God made everything out of nothing, something that nobody since has been able to do.
The Israelites in the wilderness had nothing to eat and then God fed them bread from heaven. The people in the wilderness who had come to hear Jesus teach had nothing to eat, so He fed them from nearly nothing and offered Himself, the bread from heaven illustrated generations earlier among the Israelites. Mary was told that nothing is impossible with God and we are told that we can do nothing apart from Him. “Nothing” is a common concept in this Gospel story.
“Nothing in my hands I bring, only to the cross I cling…” we sing on occasional Sundays. And yet, I am so uncomfortable with “nothing”. I want to offer something, provide something, contribute something. I want to be praised for something, commended for something, respected for something, followed for something. I want to be remembered for something. But He commands that my part be nothing so that the person and work of Jesus may be everything. We’re not splitting it 50/50, 40/60 or even 10/90.
I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD. Amos 4:6 What will I do with this nothingness? Typically, I’ll try to fill it with my own ideas, resources, plans and dreams. But what if I learn to do nothing with those feelings of nothingness, those moments of “nowhereness” and instead, trust that He has plans for it, has initiated it, and will indeed raise Himself up in it? What if, in contrast with the rockstar arena I prefer, its in my nothingness that He becomes everything?