It is coming to God with the empty places of our hearts and lives and letting Him fill it with Himself.
For a short musical answer, listen to the great song, "Blessings" at the end of this post, otherwise, please read on.
My friend Peg shared this James Stephen Behrens' quote with me that is titled, "Empty Bowl Theology,":
"We ask God for many things. We approach God to fill our lives with meaning, with hope, with a sense of presence in a world that so desperately needs a sign of the divine.
What if God has been coming all the time through that which needs to be filled? What if God is an empty stomach, a broken heart, an anguished cry, an empty bowl?
We have a tendency to want to heal and fill and satisfy. Maybe God has come closer than we think. Everything that is empty has left room for God to arrive, again and again."
I have been reflecting on this quote on and off for the past month. Since it is Lent, this quote seems particularly poignant as Christ emptied Himself (Phil. 2:6,7) for all humans when He died on the cross.
I don't think Mr. Behrens is glorifying suffering (e.g., a broken heart) as an end in itself. Instead he is pointing out that God is in the midst of our suffering.
Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemene as He faced the cross: "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." (Matt. 26:39 NASB).
Jesus obeyed His Father and died on the cross. We could not save ourselves from the power of sin and spiritual death. We could not fulfill what God's justice required. Only a sinless Christ could.
Because of Christ's sacrificial obedience, I have the freedom to approach God as my Father and Jesus as my brother. I can go to him with my empty bowl and ask Him to fill me with His presence and love.
"Everything that is empty has left room for God to arrive, again and again."
This sentence rang true as I reflected on the things that God has emptied from my life. When I was on crutches and when I was sick, I was forced to empty my life of extraneous activities. I had to simplify my life.
God uses such times to gently remind me that I am ultimately not a human doing but a human being.
When God emptied me of one dream, He gave me a new dream after I grieved the loss of the first one. I had to be emptied of my dream so I could be open to HIS dream for me.
God has allowed other dreams to come true. For example, I dreamed of a marriage based on mutual love and respect. By God's grace, our marriage is that more often than not.
Laura Story's song "Blessings" embodies "empty bowl theology." I pray that it encourages you as it has encouraged me. Reading the YouTube comments makes it clear that her song is touching a chord in people's hearts.
To learn more about Laura Story or to purchase her song, go to http://www.klove.com/music/artists/laura-story/
If you have an "empty bowl" story to share, please do so in the Comments below. I would love to hear how God has met you at your point of need.
Copyright Soul Stops/D.L. 2011 All Rights Reserved.