Anne Voskamp used this phrase when describing Lent - “to empty the soul to know the filling of God.”
Of course, here in these 40 days before Easter, Ann is referring to the emptiness discovered through fasting. We make the choice to delve into the empty places of hunger, as as we journey up to Calvary. An active participatory choice to partake in the sacrifice, in order to know this filling of God. And we choose it, though uncomfortable, because we know that when we are empty, HE comes rushing in.
But there are seasons in our life, seasons of loss when we didn't choose to surrender; mental and physical illness we don't want, relationship struggles we didn't ask for, and financial hardships we didn't willingly submit. These too are Lenten seasons - emptying seasons. Seasons of struggles and hard days; the hurting seasons of life with their myriad of challenges, leaving us empty and worn; seasons of illness in our bones, in our hormones; the empty place beside you in bed, once warm but now cold, empty sheets; seasons of dashed dreams, framed by unrealistic expectations; other dreams, splintered by sinful people. Those Lenten seasons we never chose to celebrate, chose us. God chose us for Lent, for Himself, for the gift of making us see how very empty we are.... The fasted meals we never purposed to miss, we missed because our bellies were full of heartache, greif and groanings.
These Lenten seasons can last longer than 40 days. But Sunday's coming! And there is the HOPE of EASTER. The Hope of the Ressurection and the Revelation, and the Revival in our hearts! Yes, God pours Himself into the emptiness. Yes, at the day’s end, the week’s end, the end of that difficult season, or smack dab in the middle of depression with no end in sight, when we are soul empty, there is the chance, the hope, the opportunity to know… the gushing, pouring, passionate, drenching love of God come Easter!
From hungry to satisfied. Parched to drenched.
Press on and press in, if Lent has chosen you right now.
And submit to those empty places, trusting Him to satisfy!