Monday, April 20, 2009

Empty Me

This weekend at church we sang a song called, "Empty Me." In it, we ask God to empty us of ourselves so that He can fill us with Himself. As I sang that song like I have so often, I began to think about how God empties me. I realized that it's often through suffering that God empties me. I thought about how often I've stood and sung that song wholeheartedly, wanting so much to be emptied of my weaknesses and insecurities--not to mention sin! Then God brings a trial to my life--some of them really big and scary--some not so big, and I get mad at Him. I stand and plead with Him to empty me, then He starts doing it and I get angry! I guess I thought being emptied would be simple and easy, like pouring water from a pitcher. But I don't give up my "stuff" as easily as a pitcher does. There's a part of me that wants to hold on to my "stuff." I'm more like those old fashioned ketchup bottles. Remember the song, "Anticipation?" Instead of gently tilting me so that all my "junk" can pour out like a pitcher, God has to turn me upside down and beat on me before I let go and allow Him to empty me.

It's like the ancient silversmith that Kay Arthur talks about in the introduction to her book, "As Silver Refined." The silversmith would have a chunk of ore that contained silver. To get the silver out, or refine it, he would build a fire. The fire would have to be just the right temperature--really, really hot, but not too hot. Then he would put the ore in a crucible and hold it in the fire. Now the silver was very precious, so he would never leave it, but remained right by the fire watching over the crucible and keeping the fire at just the right temperature. As the ore heated up and melted, the impurities would rise to the top and the silversmith would skim them off. Then he would let the crucible cool and the fire go out. But he wasn't finished yet. Later, he would build up the fire again and go through the same process, but never leaving the crucible unattended. He would go through this process many times until at last, as he skimmed those final impurities from the silver, he would look into the crucible and see nothing but his own reflection.

That's God's goal with each of us. He puts us through the fire, and it's a very hot fire, but never too hot. He never leaves us unattended. He constantly and patiently watches over us. And one day--this gives me goosebumps--he will look in my face and see nothing but His own reflection.

Wow, could I ever ask for anything more? I don't think so. Yes, I want my kids to be successful and bring me joy. No, I don't ever want anyone I love to die. And I certainly don't want them to suffer. I also want to be comfortable! I don't like pain. I don't like the temperature of the fire. But if it weren't hot enough, I'd still be hanging on to all my impurities. As long as I know God is carefully watching over me and gently skimming those impurities... As long as I know He is making sure the fire doesn't get so hot that it destroys me... As long as I know it won't last forever... As long as I know the end result will be Him seeing His reflection in me... I am determined to count it all joy (oh, that's hard to say!) I may have to grit my teeth and use every ounce of energy I can muster. But with His strength and the end result in mind, I know I can do it.

1 comment:

  1. Oh do you know just what I need to hear? I know....God has that planned....Thank you for sharing what God has given you! Love you!


I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!