Monday, March 3, 2014

When God Fills the Empty Spaces {Messy Monday}

I have a strict "whatever" policy about matching socks. Maybe I'll match them. Maybe I won't. Whatever.

As I rummaged through the single sock laundry basket the other day, I snatched up the No Nonsense pair I'd folded earlier, and thought of Angie. The giver of the socks. And appropriately enough "no nonsense" is a phrase she clothes her personality in quite often.

She showed up at my door with two packages of white, sturdy, No Nonsense brand socks. 

"You want these?"

Someone had given them to her, but they weren't a style she liked. Too long.

My response? "Free socks? Uh.. YEAH!"

And just like that, I was the proud owner of about a dozen pairs of brand-spanking-new socks.

That was years ago and I still wear them. Sometimes I get to feeling domestic and even darn them. These things are quality.

I didn't get it. Free socks? Who would turn down free socks?

I don't know. Who would turn down free salvation?

Socks take up serious real estate in our drawers. Honestly, I've turned down tons of free stuff because it just takes up space. Things that would be nice to have, but that I don't really need. 

I guess even free stuff can be too expensive when we're talking about the space of our lives.

I see it with the Gospel all the time. America is one of the hardest mission fields simply because we have so much stuff to drown out our need for Jesus. Even the kids that sit in our church once a week struggle with this. The church says I need Jesus. But my mom and dad seem to be doing just fine without Him. Who is right?

I'm not talking just about unchurched families either. I'm including myself in this one. 

There is a daily struggle with pride, with the desire to get things done. And what kills me is that even though I get burned over and over again, I still play with the fires of spiritual multitasking.

Jesus offers me this: Time. Time to sit with Him. Time to remember my redemption in Him. Time to ponder who He is. And what is the one thing I always feel like I'm lacking? Time. The Giver of time is giving me the thing I need- Time. And I'm too busy to just stop and take it.

I could blame motherhood, or even church. But the truth is the blame rests in this distracted and hungry heart.

This heart that realizes its void and reaches for what is convenient, instead of what is right. Like my toddler recognizing the empty space in the 3/4 full milk jug and filling it with tortillas, refried beans, and a Nutri-grain bar wrapper, I shove things into the empty spaces that have no business being there.

So when my neighbors obviously need Jesus, but instead consume alcohol and possessions and all manners of worldly trinkets, maybe I shouldn't be so perplexed. Maybe I should try on some compassion.

Because I have been there too. And while I am free from death and sin, that devil will try anything to direct my heart to everything except God.

There is hope. Hope for me. Hope for them. Hope for you. Hope for all of us. Compassion and hope are the truths that clothe believers, because believers need them too. 

More important that getting the socks matched, or the supper made, is showing my kids and neighbors that this empty jar can only really be filled by God alone.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God 
and not to us. 
2 Corinthians 4:7

Afflicted, perplexed, persecuted. All of the above. But God has power that surpasses them all. And that is what we carry, Christ's death and resurrection. Filled to the brim with His grace because we so desperately need it. May He take up more and more space in us, until people cannot look into our lives without seeing an emptiness filled by God Himself.