Emptiness and fullness at first seem complete opposites. But in the spiritual life they are not. In the spiritual life we find the fulfillment of our deepest desires by becoming empty for God.
We must empty the cups of our lives completely to be able to receive the fullness of life from God. Jesus lived this on the cross. The moment of complete emptiness and complete fullness become the same. When he had given all away to his Abba, his dear Father, he cried out, "It is fulfilled" (John ). He who was lifted up on the cross was also lifted into the resurrection. He who had emptied and humbled himself was raised up and "given the name above all other names" (see Philippians 2:7-9). Let us keep listening to Jesus' question: "Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?" (Matthew ).
Once again, I find myself sharing with you the Nouwen meditation for today...I have truly been touched by the last few meditations that have focused on the cups of our lives.
I do find the paradox of how in our emptiness we find His fullness. For so long, I trusted my own heart's strength to love a hurting, dying and broken world. I believed that if I cared enough, I could change the world. In the end, this only leads to one place--a dried-up, burnt- out and often embittered soul desiring to stay hedged in and not reach out--believing that there is nothing left to give...
But when we begin to see the "end of ourselves" and realize how utterly futile to transform even our most beautiful caring is, we are ready to be used of Him however He would choose...At that place when we think that we can do no more, is where we find "His strength made perfect."
One of the most vivid memories of this for me came when I was caring for my mother in the last stages of her terminal cancer. I found myself with no strength to care for her that morning and see her frail "wasting away" body, and as I prepared to do just that, I cried out in desperation "God, I cannot do it! I cannot continue to watch her life waste away." Almost as instantly as the words were uttered, I heard the Lord so distinctly direct me to the passage in II Corinthians 4: 16-18 "...though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day...so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." The Lord was leading me to not see the wasting away of my mother, but rather her soul being renewed and prepared for Eternity with every breath she took. I will always remember that day in caring for her and the eyes I saw clearer and more beautiful than I had ever seen.
I pray you find yourselves emptied today and that in so doing you drink of the infinite waters of His cup.