Red, fragrant spaghetti sauce splattered on the street in front of my house. Would I try to wipe it up or just let the monsoon rain lick it clean? I looked at the bright blue sky and decided the Arizona monsoon was not my faithful friend that day. I had dropped the jar of sauce from my grocery bag and I would have to clean it up. Plus, the rain wouldn’t do anything for the shards of glass. Yeah, there was that, too.
That was one of the worst incidents, but all too often I have tried to carry more than my two hands can reasonably handle. Fortunately I never dropped a baby or anything. But I’ve lost my grip on other precious cargo simply because I stubbornly insisted on holding on to one thing (or two or five) even though I needed to pick up another. Something in me doesn’t like putting one thing down to accommodate grabbing hold of another.
Empty Hands Required
But there are some things that simply must be held onto firmly with two unencumbered hands. I know this because I have unsuccessfully tried to grab hold of some of the precious gifts God has offered me…while holding onto something less valuable or even dangerous.
I’ve tried to grab hold of faith while clinging to doubts.
I’ve tightened my grip around my idols while trying to hold up holy hands to worship my God.
I’ve protectively massaged my wounds while asking for healing.
And I’ve attempted to secretly tuck close my hurts and failures while reaching out for hope.
When I ask God to give me something that only He can give, He eagerly and graciously offers even more than I had imagined. He graciously gives to us from the bounty of His riches.
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory…” (Ephesians 3:20-21a)
God desires to completely satisfy our every need. Whether we cry out for love, security, purpose or significance, He will give us all we could long for. Whether we plead for healing, hope or courage, God can supply the full measure.
He does not want to “top us off.” He wants to fill us up…to overflowing.
…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love…may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17, 19b, italics added for emphasis)
It Happened to Me
This morning as I walked through the park near my home, I listened to worship songs through my earbuds. I turned my focus completely to God and asked Him to fill me up with His unconditional love and all of His other benefits. I felt my soul swell with His provision and my heart felt singularly captured by Him. I grabbed hold of all He offered me and thanked Him for His abundant blessings.
But it didn’t take long into my day before I began trying to pick up other lesser things. A hurtful conversation prompted me to grab defensive weapons in self-protection. Pressing family concerns compelled me to lay hold of nagging anxieties. And before I knew it I had also gathered up hurtful memories, unresolved conflicts, familiar insecurities and nagging doubts.
And all that God had given me as I had turned my attention needfully to Him, splattered to the ground like wasted spaghetti sauce.
Kay, if you want to grab hold of the hope I offer, you must lay down your hurts. If you want to enjoy the bounty of my love, you must lay down your bitterness. If you want to overflow with peace, you must lay down your anxieties…give them to Me. If you want to know the fullness of my joy, you must lay down your insecurities.”
It didn’t take but a minute or two to lay it all down. (That’s a lesson I’d be wise to learn when toting in too many grocery bags along with my purse and the mail and my empty Coke cup.) God didn’t waste time chastising me or dangling in front of me what I didn’t deserve but breathlessly longed for. I didn’t have to pitifully mop up His spilled out love and wring it back into my shamed heart. Instead, He graciously gathered up my hurts, my anxieties, my fears and my insecurities in His capable arms and replaced them lovingly with generous measures of His hope, His peace and His joy.
Today if you’re wondering why you can’t seem to lay hold of God’s promises may I humbly suggest that you honestly examine what else you may be holding onto? Sister, if you’re clinging to anything other than Jesus Christ and the promises that are yours in Him, you need to lay it down. Simply go to Him in prayer and confess the fears, the anxieties, the wounds, the hurtful conversations, the best-laid plans, the idols of your own making, the doubts…anything you’ve been holding onto…and give it to Him. Don’t try to put it behind you. Put it in His hands.
And then lift up holy hands, eager hands, empty hands to the God who can completely satisfy your every need. Be filled up to all the fullness of God.
If you’re stumped by how you can be completely filled up and satisfied by a God you cannot see or hear or touch, you might want to check out my Bible study Satisfied…at Last! Many women have found biblical answers to some honest questions as they’ve learned the principles covered in this book. I’d love to share with you how to eat the Bread of Life so that you can truly be satisfied…at last. You’ll find more information and be able to order the book here.