How to Fill a Black Hole
I’m still reading Leviticus. I mentioned how I got started in Leviticus here. Now I’m up to chapter twenty-three. At this point Israel has left Egypt, essentially as escaped slaves. They had little national identity and no communal traditions or seasonal holidays. In chapter twenty-three, God instructs Moses about the various annual feasts, sacrifices, and religious observations to be instituted for them. Most of them are still observed by Jews today.
This morning I read about God’s instructions for the offering of firstfruits. As soon as the first sheaf of grain was harvested, it was to be brought to the priest, who would then present it before the Lord. God said, “You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God.” (Lev. 23:14)
I got to thinking about what it might feel like to live off the land, where you grew all your own food. To labor for months simply to eat and avoid starvation another year. What must it feel like when the harvest begins to come in? You’ve worked so hard, and now here it is.
And God says, don’t eat it. Bring it to me as an offering. He really means it. The very first grain harvested. I’m guessing this would have been a ongoing reminder that they were completely dependent on God for everything. And not only that, they also owed him everything.
I think I’m beginning to grasp what that feels like, but it’s not about food. I don’t so much as grow my own tomatoes, so I don’t have grain to offer when it appears, but I’m finding out that I’m just as dependent on him for everything that matters.
There’s this problem in my life. I didn’t create it, but it’s here, and it doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. Like a black hole that threatens to suck all the life and light out of me, sometimes it leaves my soul gasping for breath. In those moments, all I can do is present to the Lord what little breath I have and wait. Offer up my empty, lifeless self, knowing it’s barely capable of drawing another breath, let alone fill this black hole inside and make me self-sufficient.
So I offer up my emptiness and wait. And wait. Until God, who is fullness, restores my soul. Because that’s the kind of thing he does for his ransomed people on their way to the land he’s prepared for them.
Offer him your little first sheaf, and he’ll give you enough food to fill your stomach. Offer him your empty life, and he’ll give back light for your darkness and life for your gasping soul.
Don’t be afraid of your black hole either. Offer it up and wait. God will eventually make the light shine out of it.