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Fill Me Lord!

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
December 7, 2020 1:00 am

Fill Me Lord!

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 7, 2020 1:00 am

Do you ever feel depleted, hopeless, or empty? On FamilyLife Today, hosts Dave and Ann Wilson talk with Nancy Guthrie about her book, "God Does His Best Work With Empty," discussing how God has the power to make us whole.

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I think we'd all agree it's been quite a year and a lot of us may be feeling spiritually stagnant about now.

Nancy Guthrie has a prescription for us.

Maybe you're angry with God and you just sent your Bible aside, or maybe you tried opening it and you think okay that's not speaking to me today and beside the can even understand it. Don't think you can somehow move through this on your own. I'm telling you you need manna in the manner you need is to hear God's word to take it and chew on it and to digest it and let it work into your life and begin to change your feeling, which is what we need so desperately. This is family life today. Our hosts are Damon and Wilson on Bob Lapine.

You can find us Could you use spiritual realignment. I think a lot of us good about now will get one today from Nancy Guthrie stay with us and welcome to family life to. Thanks for joining us that there have been times in our marriage times in raising our kids where I have felt like on top of things like I felt okay were in a group things are going good. I got this it's working. How long is that Alaska is been plenty of times where I just of like I got nothing here I am empty. I don't know what I'm doing. This is not working or you just feel depleted and you wonder how I rally in the midst all of this. I think that word empty is something many of us feel. I think most of us feel it at some time, probably all of us and it's a hard place to be because it feels like there's an emptiness of your soul. You're not sure how to get out of that. I'm not sure my husband has felt that often now he's talking about.

Nearly all I think I pretend you know you don't want to go to empty it.

If your cars near empty bullet of gas station was Philip you want to live at least three quarters full, if not completely full. And so when you're in a state in your life as a husband as a dad is a in your feeling real empty.

I think you covered up as that's out of place. You want a way to know that's where you're really deep down your soul hit even go here right now :-) right now because you brought up the car and this is just something Mary and I are dealing with okay so I need your help on this. I think the best time to fill up the car now is when the light comes on. This is my hesitant because this means you have to fill it up less frequently you wait until it's down, you're more efficient in the use of your time you wait till you're down to the last gallon or two. Here's the question of you run out way way way ever it if I've run out. It was when I was a teenager I haven't in our married life. I've never would never been on the side of the road looking because I ran out of gas and sometimes when the red lights and it's been a long time. I been praying a lot better at times would have been driving along and I will. I'll act like it's not a guess because Marriott is worried about it at Sarah. Marianne thinks will be in her car into go all I need to fill up my car and looking to go. It's just under half and she goes yeah it's under half so I need the it's time to fill it up. I wish I could say I'd never run out of gas since I've been married but when I have on a freeway in California, 6 Lane Freeway. We had gone to wedding, high heel scenes, midnight we gas and this is happened many times now it has not happened once, so I'm sorry I got us were talkativeness because you brought up empty and you brought up filling up the tank and because Nancy Guthrie is joining us to get on family life today welcome to family life today. Thank you so glad to be anxious run out of the marriage counseling you have written a book called God does his best work with empty and in the emptiness you're talking about is not our gas tank is not the emptiness that we experience in our soul fromů Absolutely is and was talking about is interesting to me as I was writing this book and I would tell people the title most often, the most common response I got from people with that sense of identification. Like maybe having use that word. And yet, that seems to capture how I feel in the deepest part of my soul. What prompted you to write this anti-will the weights began was on my husband and I hold weekend retreats for couples who have lost children and so we began those about 11 years ago in 2009 and at one point in that weekend sitting in that circle. It will be me with 10 or 11 other couples and I look around in that circle and I have done this for these 11 years I say to them. I know that right now. Your world is full of emptiness. There is an empty bedroom at your house. There is an empty place in your schedule and empty place in the family photo and empty place at the dinner table and you are so aware of the emptiness and you look at this empty place in your life and you see it as your greatest problem.

What I want you to know is that that's not how God sees that when God looks at your life and he sees the empty place he sees it as his greatest opportunity, because God does his best work with empty. In fact that's always what he has done. If you think about the Bible.

Let's begin quoting the whole of the Bible and shaking it with me. It leaching into the first couple verses right in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and it was formless and void only empty was that a problem for God. We read the rest of Genesis 1. What happens he fills it with light and life and beauty and abundance and relationship and purpose and meaning. So from the very beginning of the Bible we see God does his best work with empty as he fills it, and as you continue the story. The Bible you get to this very important point that God has called this one man Abraham Abram at that point himself, but just before we meet able. We read about him. There is a problem, his wife Sarai.

It says she is barren shed no children. Her womb is empty and we hardly know me how to make sense in this with what we think about the promises that God has made Abram that they can have as many descendents as there are stars in the sky but once again, God does his work in emptiness of that womb at 90 years old. Her womb is filled with the child a name Isaac, which means laughter.

So what do he works in the emptiness this could work in fills their lives with so much joy, but in a sense this promised child in her womb is really just a shadow of a another womb it's empty, not because she is old but empty because you never been with a man and an angel comes to her and just, is that the whole the spirit hovered at creation. The angel says to this young woman Mary that the Holy Spirit can overshadow her what's going to happen. Her womb is going to be filled with the very life of God and said just over and over again in the Bible we see that God works in empty. Here we are thinking that it's up to us to like gather up some stuff to bring to him that he can work with but he's a creator God.

He creates something everything out of nothing. He works with empty and so I removed the very first time I said that at one of our expert retreats and afterwards my husband is like.

I don't know where that came from but that's a book and so for 11 years. It wasn't and now it is. And so what I've done the book I just traced the story through the Bible because I've given you kind of a couple steps into it, but don't we see again and again that this is what I does God's people are out in the wilderness and their hungry their stomachs are empty. Is that a problem for God he reigns down bread from heaven there thirsty and he opens up a rock for them to drink. The story of Naomi and Ruth.

She uses this word if you remember and remember that Naomi comes back and when she left. Their stomachs were empty, but her family was full and she returned she lost her husband and and two sons, and she can't even see the gift that she's been given in this daughter-in-law Bruce who is come home with her. But she says her friends, you know, don't call me Naomi calling Mara. You know my life is so bitter. She says I went away full and a come back empty and and then we start getting these hints of how God intends to do his work in her emptiness.

Ruth goes and she comes home with her scarf full of grain and once again then when she goes to the threshing floor. She comes home with a scarf full of grain and the story ends and there is Naomi who was so sure that her life was only empty only color bitter and her arms are full arms are full with a descendent and one who's going to be.

It's it says that he is oh bed and opened as can be the father of Jesse and Jesse's father David, the king is going to fill the need of this nation for a leader, the kind of leader that God wants for his people so I could go on and on but there's just so many pictures throughout the Bible that we realize God keeps on doing his work in the empty place when you and David were grieving the loss of your daughter and then the loss of your son, your your kids lived for less a year.

Both of them. I can't imagine the emptiness that must have been there for you and the wondering if there would ever be joy or life again in your soul before that loss. I had been filling my life with God's word because we don't have that to hold onto when everything is so hard and so dark and so empty.

You can feel hopeless. So I feel grateful that I came into that with a foundational understanding of who God is and for me that meant the key things about who he is. In that situation was that he sovereign so this didn't happen from to me somehow outside of his control. And then secondly that he loves me. They both of those because of his sovereignty didn't love me.

You know he's For my good and if he loves me and is not sovereign, then how can he cause all things to work together for my good so that solid sense of who he is but then on top of that, just like those Israelites needed manna every day in the wilderness of the world so we need manna every day to feed on. As we make our way in the wilderness the world and if there's anyone listening to me is experiencing the emptiness of grief or something like that. I would just say to you, you know what don't think that you can somehow move through this on your own somehow maybe you're angry with God and you just set your Bible aside, or maybe you've tried opening it and you think okay that's not speaking to me today, and besides it can even understand it.

I'm telling you you need manna in the manner you deed is to hear God's word to take it and chew on it and to digest it and let it work into your life and nourish your soul and shape your thoughts and as it shapes your thoughts about who God is and what he's doing in this world. It will begin to change your feeling, which is what we need so desperately it it doesn't mean that the pain goes away instantly, or it meant that for me. Yeah it it just means that in the pain, God is there with you and brings something to it that fills a backup one of the things we know about God is God is a healer and we can expect as he does a healing work in our lives in the interior of our lives that the grief doesn't have to remain as heavy as it is that God goes to work. Healing these deep wounds and deep sorrows, and we find as we feed on his word with that manna every day and is he shaping our thinking, and changing how her feeling that the heaviness of grief begins to lighten up and preaching through John six where Jesus says I'm the bread of life and the delusion back to the manna in the wilderness and in John 635 when Jesus says I'm the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger. He who believes in me will never thirst and Marion said was that mean never hunger never thirst.

This mean that when we come to Jesus were never empty.

Does it mean that when we come to Jesus there. There is never any lack or want on our part. What we do with it.

That's a beautiful passage that we would tie to this story in the wilderness right because those people on the hillside did that day right there immediately think they remember all this is kind of like what happened with Moses in the wilderness and Jesus is says to them, in a sense there and on six yeah right you should get your thinking along the right lines, but here was the problem with those people that day and is the problem with you and me sometimes today and that is, they wanted bread from Jesus and not Jesus as red because they are the hillside that day when he said to them, the bread of life. I am that the bread the father has sent from heaven. And then when he begins to talk about what it's going to mean for them to innocence.

Eat this bread remember what it's like. There is also cited where you get free meals and he says no, you're going to need to eat my flesh and drink my blood and all of a sudden most of them are out in it is a very sad scene is and it is is says about and that many of them walked away. It was too much for them and that's at the point where I just love this Jesus it is in at least two and Peter says, but where would we go. Only you have the words of eternal life, but I think you're getting it something important here Bob because it gets to the essence of what it means to never hunger and never thirst. We must innocence eat this bread of life, which means feed on Jesus is atoning death and resurrected life. That's what it means that we begin to feed on it now and we begin to sense that God is at work in our emptiness, not yet perfectly not yet completely genuinely and know that the day is coming when will never feel hungry or thirsty, it makes me think as I listen to you you empty is a word in a state of being. You run from, I don't want to ever feel empty helmets is true can a person really experience the fullness and intimacy of Christ without ever being completely empty. It's like you can't really can you can I be healed of five never omitted or felt the real sense of brokenness. My life how I think that's so important, Dave. When we reckon with this emptiness and when we refuse to turn in the world to fill it because isn't that so much of what we will do we fill it with the Internet we fill it with alcohol. We filled with food and we fill it with busyness and fill her with her accomplishment, another person actually but instead, when we come to those who feel empty. So where to turn for the filling that I know that I need and as we beat allow that emptiness to turn us upward to focus is into God's word and focus us up on Jesus Christ and say you know what there so many other things I can turn to you to fill my emptiness, your kindness, your love, your grace, I need you to fill my life with meaning, not something I can make happen on my own. I think my greatest sense of emptiness that same feeling was when I lost my best friend and sister. She was only 45. She had four sons that range from 11 to 20 and by the time she was diagnosed she passed away within five months of lung cancer and I with devastated. I had never experienced an emptiness like that and I remember I was angry with God. All the prayers that I was praying that she would be healed on this earth hadn't happened. I felt like he had abandoned me in so many ways and her kids and her husband and so in my emptiness I had cried out but I was so angry that I started filling my life with other things exactly what you are saying I was eating more. I didn't even want to listen to Christian music. At first, and yet the emptiness then became so excruciating that I knew like I need to turn to my father in it so interesting when we come to the father and we say I have nothing I have nothing and I was honestly saying that I feel like you haven't answered me if you like you haven't talked to me. I feel like he's been distant, but I need you so desperately that I can go nowhere else to be filled because the things I was doing. They were not filling me in the least. In fact, it made me feel worse.

I felt that I felt shame I felt like this is terrible if you take a sponge has been used or had water put on a long time.

You can scrape it with your thumbnail her finger down here. Look, I thought that's what my heart felt like.

But then I take God's word and if you want a drop of water on it once a week. It doesn't do anything for a little drop in the sometimes that's what we do at church I got a little word at church, but when you start to put a drop in a drop in a drop suddenly that sponge kinda fills back and it becomes soft and I realize my heart is coming alive again. God's word is failing me. I still don't have all the answers, and yet I felt a fullness that I had never really experienced before. And so Nancy are saying when we go to God and say I have nothing.

He saying I can do my best work and that absolutely he says this is not the end. This is the beginning. Now as you open yourself up to me I will fill you with the very best things as you refuse to allow yourself for your life to be filled with all of the less than the best things I will fill you up. I will come in I will work I will show you my grace, I will show you my kindness. I will fill your life with meaning and purpose and faith, and joy. And the reason we know he can do that is because as we work our way to the Scriptures we see that he's done it again and again and you get to flip is to and you find out the reason God can do that in us because Paul tells us Jesus emptied himself. Jake said same word and says I'm going to let it all go so that you can before the Lord himself out on the Croston and even now he intends to pour himself into us. I think there are probably folks listing to this conversation if we were with them and ask them what's the empty part of you right now they be able to point quickly to it and I'm guessing that for a lot of them. It's around broken relationship. Yet 92 damage relationships and marriage with children with extended family members where were grieving where there is there's a hole where there should be something full and Nancy your word to them and to us is God does his best work in the midst of acknowledging this emptiness and turning to him and say Lord I need you to fill a hole and I need you to cure the emptiness the longing that's a muscle hero walking through the valley within when her sister died and it really wasn't the woman that letter to Christ. Her best friend probably talked everyday.

I watched her be empty and we both were we go to church and weep. When we sang worship could him sing to swept and I remember getting to a point, maybe nine months in a year and after she died thinking. I don't know if my wife will ever come back to her full self.

And then I watch which you just told you I watched her dig in the word. She knew God. She just needed to see them again and know that he was good and with her that I'm her wand as in the kitchen. She was out in the garage and heard her laugh and I remember I can feel right now.

I just remember going live in her lesson two years and it was a belly laugh and I like she's going to make it into God's going to get her through this and she has and I would just say if you're in the valley God can bring laughter and I think this would be to a crate time. If you feeling emptiness.

Sometimes we just need to cling to God but also to cling to his word and what if we just commit like being your word every day so that my heart is soft so that your word comes alive and in his word will never return void.

It will always take root in our hearts, and it will fill us in. Nancy, one of the things you say in your book, God does his best work with empty is. It's amazing how heavy the weight of emptiness can feel how much pain can be caused by something that isn't even there. And I think there are a lot of us at the end of 2020 who are feeling the emptiness the loneliness for a lot of reasons and this is a book that will bring not just comfort but help for a lot of people. The book is called God does his best work with empty by Nancy Guthrie. You can order the book from us online. The family life to or you can call one 800 FL today to get your copy again.

The title is God does his best work with empty by Nancy Guthrie order or call to order at one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today. You know we love hearing from listeners were always encouraged when we hear about how God uses the ministry of family life in your life or in your marriage that such a great encouragement us.

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Call one 800 FL today to donate that tomorrow will continue our conversation with Nancy Guthrie about where we turn when we are empty were lonely to talk about how important it is to turn to God first, rather than trying to find life somewhere else. Nancy will be back with us tomorrow. I hope you'll be back as well. Think our engineer today. Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson. I'm Bob Lapine will see you back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life to day is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accrue ministry help for today hope for tomorrow

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