"You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence."
(NIV) Acts 2:28
It's amazing how something as simple as washing dishes can make you think about so many different things (okay, it made ME think of lots of different things). As I watched the water drain from the sink, it reminded me of the many times I felt like that water, draining, draining, and draining.
Reflect with me. . . have there been those times when you are just physically drained? Yes, that usually happens to me when I leave the gym (I suspect that means I've done something correct)! Maybe it is when you have worked physically hard on a project that leaves you totally exhausted or spent the day running after children, doing laundry, making dinner - just physically drained. I know we have all had those moments in our lives when being physically drained has left us with little left to give.
How about the times when we are emotionally drained? I know I've experienced many of those times. I have had situations where something has been so upsetting that all I can do is just cry. Not just the small tears, but those large crocodile tears - the uncontrollable sobbing. I've also experienced the extreme worry of a loved one or friend and all the emotions of fear and frustration that goes with that - knowing that no matter what I do, think or say, I'm never sure it is the right thing. Then, of course, there has been heartbreak, the kind that we feel in our hearts for a long time. That certainly can drain us from everything we have.
The most difficult type of draining that I have experienced, though, is the spiritual draining. These are the times that I have questioned God, wondered why He has guided me through a path of difficulty. I feel at those times that I have lost my Lord - why would He let me go through such difficult times? There have been a variety of occasions when I have felt this way - miscarriage, cancer, divorce, etc. During these times, I have lost my will to pray. Those have been the times when I felt as if my faith was draining from me - when I didn't want to pray.
As I reflected, were you reflecting too? Have you experienced times when you have been physically, emotionally or spiritually drained? Times when you felt like there was nothing left - nothing left to give. Maybe you are there now? These are very painful times, times when we question, times when we wonder, where is God?
Well, let me share with you one more thing that has drained from each and every one of us - our sin. Let me FILL YOU UP with good news. We have times when it seems like life is draining from us. Yet, we can rest in the comfort of knowing that the greatest thing that has drained from us - greater than being drained physically, emotionally or spiritually - has been our sinfulness. Jesus took that from us, took every ounce of sin away, when He died on the cross. When that was removed from us, we can have the space to be "filled up" with the goodness of God.
The goodness of God, His Holy Spirit, is in us every day, every minute. The Holy Spirit is there to fill us up when we need it most - when we are completely drained from everything this earthly life brings upon us. When we turn to God, during moments of physical, emotional and spiritual draining, He helps us to realize that we weren't supposed to be able to do it all, to feel it all, to be all to everyone. He helps us to realize that without Him, we will be drained. With Him - we are filled up - to the brim - with His grace, mercy and love.
During those times when we are drained, we need to remember that those are especially the times that we need to give to God. He may not fix it today or tomorrow - but He will bring joy back into our present day. He will fill us with everything that we need - and give us the most important thing of all, His love. Feeling weak? God will make us strong. Feeling like an emotional heap? God will bring us love. Feeling as if we've lost our faith? God will give us all the grace we need to turn to Him with joy.
So, on those days (or maybe even weeks, months, and years), where we find ourselves drained, remember the one who TRULY drained us - drained us from our sin. Remember that Jesus can fill us up with more than we will ever need - fill us to the brim!
"Dearest Jesus, this world can bring us to deep and dark places - places where we can feel completely drained. I pray, Jesus, that you fill me up! Fill me with all that I need, with your grace, mercy and love. Fill me with the joy you want for me. May I focus on you. I know that when I do, you will bring me out of the dark and into the light. Thank you, Jesus, for filling me to the brim! In your name I pray, Amen."