I am not a quantum physicist. No shock there. But many years ago, as I watched a Discovery show on quantum physics and heard the phrase empty is not nothing; it is always something, I thought, “Yes, that’s truth!” Even without understanding a thing about quantum physics or particle energy, that statement resonated with me as it relates to all of life and being.
We’ve been talking about the empty spaces we’re noticing as we journey through this time of global calamity. We’ve been naming our losses. Feeling our sorrow and grief. Expressing our lament and longings.
As we’ve considered all our sorrows and all our griefs, we’ve come to see that the “nothing” of our empty spaces is actually a something. It’s a something that hurts. It’s a something that has, perhaps, even drawn our attention to the deeper empty places in our own stories where we’ve experienced trauma, suffering, deprivation, and loss. Emptiness evokes so many deep feelings. And we can surely find hopelessness slithering its way into the cracks and corners.
But let’s consider for a moment, once again this word empty. Let’s allow our eyes to shift, our perception of this word to change shape and color as we consider:
- Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women, rushing from the empty tomb to tell the other disciples that the stone had been rolled away and Jesus’ body was gone.
- Peter, jumping up from where he was sitting with the other disciples as they grieved the loss of their friend and teacher. Running to the tomb at the women’s claim to see for himself. And stooping in to look, seeing the empty linen wrappings that had shrouded Jesus in death (Luke 24:1-12).
The emptiness of the tomb was not a nothing. It was a something! And the emptiness of that grave-space shifted their hearts from despair to hope. Out from the emptiness of the shroud and grave, God brought us the gift of a new thing. A now thing. From death, He brought Life. And hope.
Though the sorrow may last for a night, His joy comes in the morning.
—Psalm 30:5b, author’s paraphrase
ACTION: Take a few moments to read back and review your thoughts and feelings as you’ve processed through our last several reflections on sorrow and grief. And as you’ve noticed the empty spaces in your life. Now read Luke 24. Imagine Mary and the women, Peter and the other disciples rushing to the tomb, stooping in to see. What shifts in you as you join them in looking into the empty grave? Read Isaiah 43:18-21. What new thing is God bringing to life from your empty spaces? What are you hoping for today?