It is easy to be thankful for the really nice things that we may have– cars or homes or comforts. But it can be difficult to pour out praise for “nothing.” How often have I given thanks for all that I DON’T have?
I was looking around our shop the other day. We weren’t busy, so I had plenty of time to look around. As an entrepreneur, this should bother me. A quiet store is not earning money. But I was suddenly very grateful– grateful for the quietness and time to pray, to reflect, to take stock. Because we own the shop, I have a lot of flexibility that I did not have at my other jobs. I don’t work in the mornings, so I can do more around the house, visit my mom, do the shopping, etc., before I come to work. If something comes up, I can close the shop. I can decide when to have a sale, what items to offer, and how to arrange them. In fact, when the shop is not busy, I can write my blog! Not only that, but because we sell used and vintage items, I don’t have to worry about shelf life or expiration dates or items being trendy or passé– they’re almost all “out of style” anyway!
For several months, we had just one vehicle– which is still a great deal more than most families have– but it meant that David needed to use it for work, leaving me without convenient transportation. But we live in town– I can walk to the bank, the store, the post office, the library.. almost everywhere I really need to go during the week. NOT having a car meant that I got used to walking everywhere. Now that I have access to a vehicle, I can still choose to walk (which saves on gas!), and I am happy and grateful to be able to walk in good weather and ride in the rain.
So often, God chooses to withhold, or even take away things in our lives. He chooses to give us “nothing”—empty space, empty moments, times of need, and times of lacking. Sometimes, He does it to teach us discipline; sometimes to keep us from becoming slaves to our things or our schedules. Sometimes our emptiness is for a short season; other times, it may last for months, or even decades.
In the end, though, God never leaves us with “nothing.” God will provide for our needs– He will make a way or a provision where there seems to be no way. Not having a car did not keep me from meeting with God; not having a busy, thriving shop does not keep me from having a long list of things for which to be grateful. We have been open for almost 10 years– longer than many small businesses, especially having gone through COVID and lockdowns for two of those years! God is ALWAYS Good. He is ALWAYS Faithful. Even when I think there is “nothing” to see– God is at work.
Today, I want to pay special attention to the “nothing” in my life– to the empty spaces and lonely times that keep me aware that God fills them all to overflowing!