Running on Empty
Last week my Granddaughter Rebekah sent me a text containing a poignant picture that appears here. Nothing is so threatening as when the gas gauge reads empty. Transportation is the ticket to many things in our lives – job, education, shopping, independence and freedom. Did I mention independence? A full tank stirs my desire to travel to the ends of the earth. When the tank is empty – there is no where to go. Life as we know it evaporates into thin air.
We expressed amazement as one elderly lady, who could hardly walk, made it to church. She grinned, “If I can make it to the car, I can go anywhere!”
In a flash of concern for Rebekah, I sent a query – “Is this your gas tank or your life?” Just as quickly she texts back the answer. I love technology and I love texts from our grandchildren. Even when that text appears to be cryptic. Thank you, Rebekah!
I never thought about it before, but life begins with a full tank. When I was young, I am so filled with my own strength and dreams that I sped through life without realizing that my strength is not enough. There is more.
I don’t have to check the gas gauge of my life, for I expect it to be filled with experiences, learning, health and my goal is the elusive American Dream. The dream that is held up as the ultimate – glitzy ads picture fleeting happiness with ownership of things that rust, break or can be stolen.
Then one day, I glance at the gas gauge – and it is just half full. When did that happen? Then I realize that aches and pains are more obvious. I went through school, I had a job and I wonder…how much longer can I continue working? I look around at others who have a bigger slice of the American Dream than I do….and wonder, is this all?
It is then I know I must refill our tank, before it slides down to empty and I lose. Can I make more money? Not in this age, in my ability or in this economy. Can I be young again and healthy? No. Can I learn something new? Perhaps, but aging brain cells makes learning more and more difficult.
Then where is my security? Where is my enjoyment? What makes life worth living? The physical strength will pass away soon – and I realize that the spiritual will be forever.
It is then I go to the Ultimate Travel Guide, God’s Word. I find the word ‘fill’ 225 times. That is what I want – to fill my life’s gas tank. But this time not for independence, but dependence, for I know I can’t do this on my own. I must have God’s help.
I want my life to make a difference, not for me, but for others. I want to learn about faith, trust and wisdom. These are the qualities that fill my life. To be a child of God, and let Him do the driving.
Here are some of the guidelines that I found in God’s Travel Guide:
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
1 Peter 1:8-9
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Ephesians 4:10 – 13
He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
This I can depend on. And the spiritual energy God gives me will carry me through this life to eternity. While researching, I learned that often gas tanks can register empty when full or full when empty. Man has devised a machine that promises independence, yet has flaws. Perhaps it is time to trust God to fill us with his love and hold us steadfast. Dependence is the assurance of His faithfulness, and trusting Him each step in life.
Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.