Filling up the Empty Places

A Full Life in the Emptiest of Places

“If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go.   I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.”  Isaiah 58:9-12

Some of the most natural tendencies man has are the ones that revolve around self. Man is instinctively focused on self-preservation and the needs and action that is required to ensure personal safety, security and even happiness. Yet scripture has pointed out what is right and correct, what is important and what needs are actually the most necessary to meet.

This passage really digs deep into the flesh of my humanity. I have read these two quotes this week from Jody Landers blog and I really appreciated them. For what they are… but also what they are bringing to my attention…

the better we tell our stories, the better we want to live them.

We want to create stories in our life that are good, that are worth telling and have significance to them. We also really like to hear ourselves talk about…. well, ourselves. I think many of us live each day trying to figure out how to convey our stories in such a way that we are painted in a rosy colored light- all hazy, sepia-toned and beautiful. Refer back to the passage. How does Scripture say that our lives will start glowing? Ah, yes. Giving of ourselves, becoming less so that God can become more (John 3:30), meeting needs. Seems to me that list does not really have much to do with ourselves.

(she) makes me want to live my own life well.

Jody is referencing a woman who was very special in their lives and the lives of others they know. It is remarkable to look at sweet Jacque’s story, it is simple filled to the brim about her love for others and putting her concern for others first. It is evident in her journal that she had many people who loved and cared for her which is no doubt a result of her car and selflessness for them even during the last months of her life. As Jody said… she lived her life well, and has obviously inspired others to do the same.

This all does have a point. Patience.

In reflection of the Isaiah passage and the evaluation of these two quotes and the stories laced within them– what are you doing to not only live your life well, but live a life that has worth beyond just self-preservation and selfishness? Are you taking to heart the instructions held within the first portion of these verses?

How are you embracing a full life in the empty places?

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