Have you ever felt empty and hollow? Have despair and hopelessness ever overwhelmed you? Take heart! When you find yourself in a hopeless, empty place, God is about to create something fresh. In that barren, lifeless, formless place, He is about to move and manifest His Presence. The Bible is replete with examples of God’s creative activity in lifeless, barren places. In the beginning, “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2a). The next part of the same verse says that “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2b). In verse 3, God uses His Words to speak creatively, and His light is manifested. The creative process began in the void, formless place. The Old Testament reiterates this theme in the stories of various barren women: Sara, Rachel, Hannah, and the Shunammite woman. God visited all of them and transformed their barren wombs into fruitfulness. This theme is carried over into the New Testament as well. In Luke 1, the angel Gabriel visits Zacharias, whose wife Elizabeth was barren and advanced in years. He tells Zacharias that Elizabeth will have a baby who will prepare the way of the Lord. Clearly the barren place served as a place of preparation. In fact, it is no coincidence that John the Baptist prophesied and baptized IN THE WILDERNESS. People had to go out to the wilderness to receive his news of the coming Messiah.
God has demonstrated repeatedly that He likes to work in places that are formless, void, and even dead! When we are faced with barrenness in our lives, we are forced to admit that we have nothing to brag about. We are compelled to confront our own fruitlessness and inadequacy. That is, ironically, right where God plans to meet us with HIS creative power!
After visiting John, Gabriel visits Mary, a virgin from a nondescript town. No one expects anything good to come out of Nazareth (see John 1:46). As we know, God chose that very place and time for the miracle of the incarnation — Immanuel [God With Us], God begotten by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. (“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14) “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
God’s power in the formless, void places — the insignificant, nondescript places — created the heavens and the earth. His power, again using His Word, brought life to barren wombs and to a town no one regarded as important. His saving power was manifested first in the empty, formless places. He delights to visit you in your barrenness. You offer Him womb for creativity! He wants to birth His life and Presence in and through you, beginning with the dry, barren places of your life. Allow Him to enter the cracked, dry earth of your heart….. and watch Christ in you, the Hope of glory, manifest Himself! (Colossians 1:27)