In the Empty Space
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV
One of my friends recently graduated from a 423 Communities group. For the sake of this post I will call her Esther. Esther is kind, soft-spoken, creative, capable, and has a love of literature that appeals to the heart of an English nerd like myself.
At first, this was all I saw in her. I figured there must be more (there always is), but like everyone else who has struggled with sexual addiction she felt the need to hide herself in the dark.
It took some time, but by graduation I was able to see the enormous measure of courage and valor in her heart. There is a persistence and resilience there that continues to reveal itself and impress me all the more. But I don’t think Esther sees what I see. I think there are times when she catches a glimpse, but even then those glimpses do not penetrate her heart.
The way Esther describes herself makes me think she must view her soul like a honeycomb. She has a form and function, but she is characterized by her empty places, the voids within her that exist simply because that is who she is. I think on some level she knows she is a daughter of God who is saved and good in His eyes. But there is a difference between knowing something and believing something.
It is hard to believe in your true identity in the fight against porneia, because porneia takes such a deep root in us that we feel as though we are fighting against ourselves. We feel the ravenous hunger and ruthlessness of porneia as it carves away pieces of us, leaving a bareness that makes life feeling less like living and more like empty survival.
But the bareness, the lack, the deficit that porneia carves into us is not who we are. It is not who I am. It is not who Esther is. It is not who you are.
If a hole is dug in soil, the soil does not take on the identity of the empty space or of the hand that dug it.
We are not porneia. We are gardens where God places seeds of grace and love in each hollow place, caring for us until the seeds grow strong enough to blossom and be shared with our brothers and sisters.
God has planted seeds of valor, courage, tenderness, and love into my friend, Esther. And every time we meet I see they have budded a little more, pushing up out of the soil with a stubborn charm and beauty. Because out of emptiness we bear good fruit.
Contributor: Jordan N.