If God Can Empty, He Can Fill {Story Reading Ruth}

It was the ache that would not go away.  Like echoes from an unfed stomach, the emptiness of life had become her banner.

Naomi, the empty one.

Her husband, Elimelech—“My God and king”–was dead, along with his offspring.  What does a woman do when her king—the one who brings fullness to life—has left her empty-handed, with nothing?   Empty purse.  Empty future.  Empty heart.  “I went full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.

Well, there was one thing of which she was full: Sorrow and loss. 

Naomi named ‘pleasantness’ by her parents.  Surely they had no idea what a burden her namesake would become.  How does one be pleasant when surrounded by dreams robbed and pillaged by Providence?  “Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”

Isn’t it just like bitterness to fill the emptiness.  Something must fill the loss.  Some choose greed.  Lust.  Jealousy.  Anger.  Despair.  The afflictions of the empty places fervently beckon for a vice to drown out the quiet of the empty.

Yes, empty places are quiet torturers.  No baby kicking in the empty womb.  No coins jangling in an empty bank account.  No joy ringing in a marriage bed empty of one partner.

Yet at the same time, empty places are loud and rude.  Shouting for you to lash out.  “I don’t deserve this!”  

Naomi, “the one against whom the hand of the Lord has gone forth against.”

Not only her, but all of us too.  No, there may not be famine, death, and abandonment, but we all know the ache of the empty.  We know how sorrow drains.  How loss longs for what it doesn’t have.

In response we can push away or draw close to what we have heard of the Lord.  “Then she arose…that she might return from the land of Moab, for she had heard in the land of Moab that the Lord had visited His people in giving them food.”  God may have dealt bitterly with her, but she had heard that He was filling the empty places of His people and she would walk toward His goodness.  She would not stay in the emptiness.  If God can empty, He can fill.  She would seek Him until He filled it with His goodness.

Will you? 

Do you have an empty place that has convinced you God has dealt bitterly with you?  Seek Jesus.  He satisfies {deeply}.  He fills {completely} the emptiness.

This week I’m following Internet Monk, Chaplain Mike’s challenge to practice “story reading” the book of Ruth.  (You might want to hop on over there and read his challenge for yourself–I loved it!)  This post is installment one–you can read the original text in Ruth, chapter 1.  I’ll be reading the entire book each day of the week–getting to know the characters and sharing my discoveries here.  Will you join us?  It’s summer.  You need a good read.  You need a good Storyteller.  Come join the story!

8 thoughts on “If God Can Empty, He Can Fill {Story Reading Ruth}

    • Alida, may your study of Ruth be blessed! Stop back some time and tell me about what you’re learning…I’d love to hear what God reveals to you!

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