Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Family Forte: The Ups and Downs of Emptiness in Life

by: Topher Wiles
     What do cereal boxes, bank accounts, and toilet paper rolls all have in common?  They are all disappointing when you find them empty!  Think back to that fateful moment you’ve reached into the pantry to quickly nab that scrumptious dessert in a box for breakfast.  Do you remember your shock when you found the amount of cereal left in the cardboard would only fill your spoon?  Can you remember a time you filled your bowl of cereal only to find your milk jug with an eighth inch of liquid in the fridge?  Do you remember how you could have throttled someone at that moment in the morning?  Heaven help that dastardly person who neglected to throw the empty box and jug away before I found them!  Oh, and we’ll never forget that moment we realize we overspent an empty bank account resulting in extra fees!  That same emotional disappointment is what my 5 year old Micah felt at a recent Easter Egg Hunt because his dad forgot the disappointment of emptiness.

     As a dutiful dad attending to my tiny tot at Central Church of Christ’s egg hunt, I worked diligently at pointing out all the stray eggs in the grass that older kids missed, or so I thought.  After ensuring the little kids area was cleared, we strayed toward the big kids side and were surprised to find so many eggs left in the tall grasses in the middle of the yard.  I understand that sometimes our older kids’ hunting practices take after me in my hunt for my car keys; I can’t find anything when it’s left in the open in obvious places.  Yet I was puzzled at the bountiful amount of eggs the more mature hunters left laying in the grass.  Micah was excited at the “eggstravagant” booty he pillaged from the older kids, until we began opening eggs. 
     Many of Micah’s eggs were empty!  I chuckled as I realized what had happened.  Some older kid was immediately eating the chocolate and then snapping the eggs closed and dropping them for an unsuspecting hunter!  The realization gave me a giggle but gave my 5 year old a frown.  (I fear I’ve given some adult readers a diabolical prank for this weekend’s egg hunts!)

     Emptiness hurts.  Many of us have experienced that truth the hard way in life.  In our daily lives we often find empty things around us that disappoint us.  God knows that empty people will disappoint us as well when he warns of the following empty things. 
  • Be cautious with people who don’t do what they say and disappoint us with their empty words.  “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” – Ephesians 5:6
  • Be wary of those who put on a show of religious piety, but are unwilling to give in helping others.  “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place He chooses … they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed, every man shall give as he is able.” – Deuteronomy 16:16-17
  • Be mindful of those who pretend to know the depths of the will of God but disappoint us with their empty-headed shallowness.  “For an empty-headed man will be wise. . . when a donkey’s colt is born a man. – Job 11:12

     Yet there is one empty item in which we can rejoice, and because of it we don’t have to be disappointed by emptiness any more.  The empty tomb of Jesus Christ changes our perspective.  We rejoice with Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James as they reached the tomb with spices and anointing oils only to find no body inside (Luke 23:55-24:10).  We praise God for the angel who rolled back the stone and said, “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.” (Matthew 28:6)  We marvel along with Peter as he “rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, saw the linen cloths by themselves.” (Luke 24:12)  Paul praised the emptiness of the tomb when he said “If Christ’s tomb is not empty, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty!” (1 Corinthians 15:14)  We exult in the Lord Most High that finally, we can find peace and joy in something that was empty:  the empty tomb of Jesus! 
     Yes, life may bring you empty cereal boxes, empty people, or even some empty Easter eggs, but we can bear it all because God has given us the Spirit of a man who rose from the grave, leaving an empty tomb!  May you be blessed because of the tomb’s emptiness this Easter weekend!

“You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here!  See the place where they laid him!”  – Mark 15:6

The word “forte” comes from the latin word “fortis” meaning strength.  Our weekly Family Forte article in The Expositor is the effort of family at Central Church of Christ to give your family the love, care, and attention it needs to become a stronger version of itself.  If we can help you in any way, please contact us at Central Church of Christ through email,, or through our website,