It's a new year, and it is that season when we reflect on the bygone year and consider the possibilities of the future. For some, 2011 holds a kind of electric thrill as we look forward to a long anticipated wedding, baby, move, career change or just the simple pleasure of growing in our Lord with our families. 

For others, 2011 holds a degree of uncertainty that clouds the horizon with some fear, sadness or just plain tiredness.  Regardless of whether you see the wide open spaces as a cause of celebration or see the empty disappointments from 2010 casting a dismal light on the new year in front of you, God may have a plan that just might surprise you.

•  The bottom of an empty well was the beginning of Joseph's destiny (Genesis 37:24).

•  The emptiness that had claimed Naomi's life propelled her home and into a place of greater fulfillment than she could have imagined (Ruth 1:21,Ruth 4:16-17).

•  A poverty stricken widow found hope when Elisha instructed her to gather empty jars from all the neighbors.  Those empty jars would be miraculously filled with oil to provide for her and her children (2 Kings 4:3-7).

•  The best of all the "empty" things in Scripture is the empty tomb (Luke 42:12).  The empty tomb means that Christ could not be held by the power of death and that He was indeed the sacrifice to end all sacrifices so that we might have forgiveness from our sins (Hebrews 10:10).

•  Now we "know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God" 1 Peter 1:18-19 NLT.  Empty things no longer have a hold on our new life in Christ!

Let's take a look at how some of these stories may apply to your unique situation. As you look out on the horizon of 2011, consider those empty places and what God might want to do with them.

We saw a disturbing story on the news last night about a man and wife who were out of work. The husband decided there was nothing more to live for, so he killed his wife, then set their house on fire, and killed himself.  He sent a note to his sister about his plans. 

Being unemployed doesn't have to be this tragic. Joblessness is one of those empty places God can work with!  If you are struggling to find work, be confident that God has a plan for that empty place. Elijah's widow was on her way to make her last meal for her and her son before they laid down to die because they had no more food. God often "shows up" when we are at the very end of ourselves and can't do any more on our own steam.

Some of you might be hurting under the burden of family dynamics that just don't seem fixable. Joseph's story is for you.  His relationship with his family was so broken that his jealous older brothers threw him into a dry well and then sold him to slave traders.  Despite the deep wounds these actions created, Joseph was able to keep his heart open to God's plan for his life.  The bottom of that well was the door to his destiny -- a destiny that would take years to unfold but would set him second in power to Pharaoh. Not only did he gain power, but his position enabled him to save the very family he thought he'd never see again from starvation. Maybe you have experienced harsh injustice at the hands of your family or just simply watched the dynamic of relationships with sadness. Take heart -- even in the midst of it all, God can work miracles beyond our dreams!

Naomi felt the bitterness of loss. 2010 might have held the pain of loss for you. If so, I can empathize with you. But don't get lost in the grief! God has a plan even when we feel like everything we loved and dreamed of has been taken from us.  It was the loss of her entire blood family that brought poor Naomi back to a place where God blessed her with more than she could have imagined -- even setting her descendants in the lineage of Christ!

If the empty horizon of 2011 held an ounce of fear at what was to come because of what has been, take heart. God is going to do something with that empty place; entrust it to His care, goodness and His timing.  He can work wonders in empty spaces.

None of us knows what 2011 holds, but we can know this for sure -- our God is good and His word is one thing that will never come back empty!

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11 NASU

It is when we see what lies ahead as that which is securely tucked in our Lord's good care that we are freed up to be the women He intended for us to be -- women who are clothed in strength and dignity, who smile at the future (Proverbs 31:25). 

January 8, 2010


April Motl and her husband, Eric, minister at their church in Southern California where he is a pastor on staff.  April is the founder of In His Eyes Ministries; a teaching ministry devoted to helping women see their life from God's perspective. For more information about the ministry visit www.InHisEyesMinistries.com.