Monday, December 4, 2023

What to Do When You are Empty Inside

Want to know how God works?

I wrote the title to this post hours ago.  Then, I went outside for a walk.  Came back, read a little.  Got a phone call from a friend.  Now, hours later, I am back.

And instead of me pouring out my heart and soul again today, I'm just going to post what I read because this is how God works.

Last night, I lost two battles.  The first one was lost when God asked me to pray over someone very specifically.  I found out right after the prayer, we had lost the spiritual warfare battle. The devil had won.

The second one was a phone call that came later in the night with bad news.

News I had hoped would never come, and quite frankly, it was news no one in this family understands but we will have to learn to accept.  When you lose a battle, whether it is through prayer or a phone call, your heart can shatter and break into a thousand little pieces.

You may not understand why God is allowing the devil to win.  Why He would call you into spiritual warfare only to let you lose the battle?  Why He would allow you to create a family and love someone so sweetly and deeply when He knew the person would eventually slip away without any communication, commitment, or effort to salvage the family you created together?

When we lose the battles God calls us into or allows into our lives, we feel empty inside.  Broken.  Lost.  I can't begin to tell you how incredibly empty I feel right now after losing those two battles yesterday.  I am so battle weary right now!

But God.

This afternoon, God and I talked again.  It was a hot mess of a conversation.  Full of tears, crying, WHYs, and requests. I don't know how God's war with evil will end, but I do know He called me into battle last night.  He told me what specifics to pray for, and He gave me a vision to see the battle.  Yet, we still ended up losing!

Here is (finally) what I read when I came back to the computer.  I can't believe it is right in line with the title I typed hours earlier today.  Well, okay.  Maybe I can! Enjoy:

"If you’ve walked through a long season of waiting, you are probably familiar with 'almosts.' You almost found 'the one.' Your child almost had a breakthrough. You almost went into remission.

Here’s the thing about almosts: They feel good. After all, we’ve waited to feel something (besides discouragement) for so long. So we hold on to the buzzing feeling of possibility, the hope that right around the corner, our “almost” could turn into a sure thing. We allow our minds to dream and our hearts to grow attached. Almosts carry our heart sky-high when we hold tight to a specific outcome. If that outcome doesn't pan out, our heart drops from that sky-high place. After enough 'almosts,' we learn to protect our heart from skydiving because it wasn’t made for that.

'Almosts' become a teacher, helping us discover the art of hoping, teaching us to guard our hearts and put our hope in the right source. We don’t want to build walls around our heart, but we do learn to guard it. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, 'Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.'

It's not that we don't get excited or don't 'get our hopes up,' but we learn to proceed without tying our soul's worth to the outcome. We keep a restful anticipation, not an anxious anticipation. That’s the goal anyway. I’m getting better at this, but I don’t always get it right. Hope is essential in the journey, but where our hope resides is key. 'Now, Lord, what do I hope for? My hope remains in you.' Psalm 39:7.

In Mark, chapter 8:22-26, Jesus travels to Bethsaida and meets a blind man. He takes the blind man by the hand and leads him out of the village, away from the crowd. After placing a spit and mud mixture on the man’s eyes, Jesus asks the man if he sees anything. The man looks up and says, 'I see men, but they look like trees, walking.' Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again, and his sight was restored. For the first time in his life, the man saw everything clearly.

For a moment—we don’t know how long exactly—the man 'almost' has his sight, but not fully. I wonder how he felt during his 'almost.' Perhaps a mixture of excitement and fear, hope and possibility, a rush of emotions - and maybe a bit of disappointment, wondering if the full miracle would ever come.

The blind man let Jesus touch him once more. Jesus didn’t want the man to settle for blurry vision when He intended to bring him full clarity. What makes me pause and scratch my head is that the miracle didn’t happen instantly; it didn’t come without an 'almost.' Stories like this show us the heart of our Heavenly Father, who demonstrates that some breakthroughs don’t come instantly, they may come little by little, yard by yard.

What if we saw our 'almost' as an opportunity for us to let Jesus touch us one more time? What if instead of pushing away our desires and Jesus because of fear of disappointment, we let Jesus come closer, trusting his timing and his process? Sure, our journey hasn’t been a straight line — that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe God knows the straight line will make us flatline. The process of God pulling us away is an opportunity to experience a connection with Jesus that makes any straight-lined path pale in comparison.


Lord, I give you my feelings of discouragement. Even though I wish my path was a straight line, I trust that you use every winding and troubled road for your glory. Help me to trust you and to trust your timing and your plan. Help me to surrender the outcome to you and to allow you to change me from the inside out. Amen."

Don't fail to miss this part: What if we saw our 'almost' as an opportunity for us to let Jesus touch us one more time? What if instead of pushing away our desires and Jesus because of fear of disappointment, we let Jesus come closer, trusting his timing and his process?

One of the battles I lost yesterday centers around this idea precisely!  What if we let Jesus touch us just ONE MORE TIME?  What if we didn't push away those we love and have committed ourselves to because of fear of disappointment, but we let Jesus come CLOSER and trusted the process?

What have I been saying lately?  TRUST THE PROCESS, not the OUTCOME.

I love that God called me into battle yesterday.  It was an amazing God moment!  But now, he is giving me another holy moment to share. I'm not sure who needs to hear these words, but He wants you to hear this:

Let Jesus touch you ONE MORE TIME, like the blind man in our Scripture above.  Don't let fear take you away from the things you love or the PROCESS Jesus has in place for you.  The blind man could have walked away from Jesus in fear his miracle wasn't coming.  BUT - HE LET JESUS TOUCH HIM AGAIN.  And his world was transformed.  The blessing was given!


Take your emptiness today and turn it into a place of possibility.  God is waiting for you.  He is in the business of CHANGE.  Invite Jesus into your heart.  He will forgive your sins and make you a new creation.  And then, keep going into the battles God calls you into.  If Jesus is calling you into spiritual warfare, you can be assured the WAR will be won!

"Father, thank you for the calling into battle last night. I heard you.  I received the call and obeyed.  We lost the battle, but the war belongs to you.

I am trusting your process and not the outcome.  You are a God of changing hearts and men.  I am so thankful for all the gifts you give me daily - two grown and incredibly wonderful sons; a beautiful house to wake up in every morning; warm heat on these cold December days; hot water to shower in each day; food on our table; shoes on our feet; furry family members to love us each day.  I am thankful for my two prayer partners that shower me in prayer each day and patiently listen and give advice.  I am thankful for a brother and sister-in-law who cry with me as we all try to understand the loss of a family member.  I am thankful for friends that surround me with love and comfort as I lose battles.  But most importantly, I am thankful for Jesus, your Son, who you so lovingly gave up for us, to come to Earth to die for our sins and who was then gloriously raised up on the third day to give us eternal life with you in Heaven.

You are so, so good Father.  I will lay my life at the foot of your throne.  That I may not waller in battles lost, but I will remember the war is yours.  Bring home to us those that are lost.  Like the prodigal son, let them realize the world is not their oyster and not everyone is on their side.  Let them realize where the greatest gift lives and return home.  Let us be to them as the Father was while waiting for his son when he returned.  May we never forget the goodness of God and His great, great love.  Amen."

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