Nielsen Greiner is from Lancaster, PA and recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Currently, he works full-time. He has a heart for high school ministry.

Hope: The Blessing of Emptiness

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

As good intentions and ambitions often go, so have many of mine. Many have been lost, yet to be found; in their place, a sense of emptiness has settled in me over the years. Now, I’m beginning to see some of this emptiness partly due to hopelessness. But I’ve also realized that emptiness, in and of itself, is not necessarily the enemy. If allowed, emptiness can take you to a desperate place. When you’re in this place, you can receive a gift that is only given to those whose hearts, souls and spirits are in that desperately poverty-stricken place.

I am currently in a place of many possibilities and unknowns, hopes and dreams, longings and desires. In all of it, I often feel as if I have little to offer. It’s here where I’ve learned my limitations can bring me to the Father in a state of desperation. There, I see that my existence is valuable solely in knowing I am fully His, fully found in Him. When I am empty of my genuine (yet temporal efforts), there is finally room to be full of something eternal.

I oftentimes find myself in a perpetual state of emptiness, longing and desire – willing and wishing for more, but never quite finding the glass slipper, lingering somewhere, just beyond reach.

If we are not followed by hope in our seeking nor following in hope as we search, we will be lost to a crushing weight.
Hope sustains us in our emptiness, poverty, need and lack.

Maybe you, like me, have lost hope in some way. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, a friend, father, mother, sister or brother this past year. Maybe you’ve lost the love of your life. Maybe you struggle with depression, hopelessness or despair. Maybe you’re so desperate, you think your only option is to take your own life. Maybe you are sick, you’ve lost a job, made a grave mistake, let someone down, let yourself down. Maybe you feel like you failed God and aren’t worthy to be His son or daughter.

Today I can tell you, with all confidence, all is not lost; you are not lost. There is absolutely nothing capable of separating you from the hope that is fully yours in Jesus Christ. He paid for you to live with hope, for it to lead you to God Himself.

“(W)e went through fire and through water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.” Psalm 66:12

Whether through hell or flood, we can set our hearts on a hope greater than these. If the fires have taken everything – our dreams and desires, our intentions and ambitions – if the waters swept you far further than thought you would be, take courage. The beauty of our eternal hope is this: Even if the fires do not cease beneath us nor the waters be stilled around us in this age, we remain standing strong on the immovable mountain of our Father’s goodness. We need to rest in the embrace of His unchanging love and find a home in His heart.

Friends, we have a Hope.

It may not feel or look right, and all of your hurt, ache and struggle attempt to drown it out, It still stands. When the fires have ceased and you’re not surrounded by Hell, when the waters have withdrawn their reach and Earth is finally beneath you – we will see it to be true, as it has been all along. The time is coming when things will change, when we will step into a “place of abundance” – the place where Hope has brought us. For those of us who feel empty going into this New Year, we now have room for something greater to dwell. What dwelt in us before will never be as true as the eternal Hope that will always follow.