On Emptiness and Waiting

For the last 3 years I’ve been part of something called the LEVITE SUMMIT. It is a worship, arts and leadership conference that I’ve had the incredible honour of envisioning together with other amazing partners in ministry.

One really interesting thing I noticed about people who are involved in the arts and leadership is that they are constantly pouring out with their giftedness. Also most of these folks are ‘creatives’ and so the nature of what they do is very personal, emotional and spiritual. There are two realities (of many I’m sure) that result.

One is that creatives, artists and leaders often feel ‘empty’ emotionally or spiritually, and need to be refilled, refreshed or renewed. Another is that these individuals (me included) often are in seasons of ‘waiting’. Some wait patiently, others wait anxiously! Eager to ‘get on with it’, so to speak. I’ve experienced both of these scenarios, and I’m sure it’s not unique to this particular demographic but it is particularly applicable to this group.

So this year at the Levite Summit I gave some encouragement and direction to those two realities. Here’s an excerpt.

I’m Jon – some of you know me, some of you don’t.
 I’m a worship pastor at Vernon Alliance Church, I’m also a songwriter and recording artist. 
I suppose my vocational life could rather simply be separated into 2 ten-year seasons. At least as far as time-frame is concerned. 
And before those 2 seasons I was a kid, in school – in fact, this is my grade 12 grad photo – when mullets were cool. (yes, there was a time when mullets were cool)

Jon's Grad Photo

And this is the promo photo for my first recording. It was a seven-song recording project called Mystified. Crazy days, that eventually led me to a Commerce degree and a recording career and then a Pastoral career. Through it all I wondered, like we all do – with all the ridiculous mistakes I’ve made (high school and hair-styles notwithstanding), can I really make a contribution to this world?

Jon's Mystified Promo

But - WE HEAR AND SEE THE ANSWER in our lives and all around us "You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust, You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us…" (Michael Gungor)

Even Isaiah 61 testifies to that truth:

‘For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.’

And WE are His righteousness
As hard as that is to believe, it’s true.

Not too long ago, I found myself empty. I sought God, I asked Him to fill me. He didn’t. A dear friend said ‘if God isn’t filling you, maybe it’s because you need to be cleaned and repaired’. You can’t clean a tank while it’s full. You can’t fix a car while it’s running. Maybe there’s a reason He’s not filling you yet.

Numbers 8:21 - The Levites, too, purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes; and Aaron presented them as a wave offering before the LORD. Aaron also made atonement for them to cleanse them.

More than once I’ve been waiting – waiting on God to show me the way. Impatiently waiting. (tapping foot, looking at the calendar…). Another friend told me, maybe ‘waiting on God’ means to ‘wait’ as a server at restaurant waits on a table of folks eating dinner. (I put white towel on my arm to illustrate the image of a waiter). Maybe God wants you to serve him in a quiet humble way until He can guide you into the next step? Wait for the Lord? Yes. Patiently. Wait on the Lord? Yes…that too. Humbly

Psalm 27:14 ‘King James’ - Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

So now take a moment and answer these 2 questions…

  1. Are you empty and needing to be filled? Allow God to begin a cleansing process right now, the filling comes after the cleansing. Take some time to reflect…
  2. If you are waiting, are you waiting patiently? Are you serving quietly and humbly? Allow Jesus to meet you there. Wait for the Lord, but also think about what it means to wait ‘on’ the Lord. Take some time to reflect.

After I led those few minutes of encouragement and reflection I closed in prayer and we sang a song. I would encourage you to try the same thing. Spend some time in prayer and listen to some music that inspires you and points you to Jesus. Take some time and get filled up! Think of the things that give you life and make a plan to do those things. And remember that God has ‘clothed [you] with garments of salvation and arrayed [you] in robes of his righteousness. [You] are His righteousness, and He makes beautiful things out of all of us.

Peace to you.