The Gift of Nothing

Once upon a time, in a land before Corona, I was at the gym. I had just finished my typical dance class + 5k run and was headed to the sauna for my post-workout sweat. I stopped by the massive array of lockers to drop off my phone with the rest of my belongings so it wouldn’t be damaged by the heat. I walked up to my locker and put in my generic locker combination. When I opened the door, I was staring at a cache of belongings and devices that were definitely not mine. I stepped back, momentarily confused, and then realized I was standing at the wrong locker. I closed the locker door, turned the dial, scooted down a couple of lockers, put in my generic (and apparently popular) locker combination and this time opened the door to see my own belongings. As I sat in the sauna trying to think about something other than why I was voluntarily sweating after my two workouts, I couldn’t help but drift to thoughts of God’s grace and the gift of nothing. 

When that rightful owner returned to their locker to retrieve their items they most likely grabbed their stuff, walked out the gym and moved on in their routine never having any idea just how exposed and vulnerable they had truly been. Nothing was missing. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Nothing interrupted their day. What a gift nothing had become! I think about the gift of nothing often during this season. As much of the country is stuck safe at home making TikTok videos, laughing at Tiger King memes and complaining about the ability to do nothing, I can’t help but wonder what exposure and vulnerabilities many of us may have been spared. How many people’s lives would’ve been lost in car accidents that never happened? How many homes are full that would’ve been burglarized if they were left empty during the regular work day? How many kids are getting to see their parents more now than they have in the last six months? 

As we are celebrating this season of Passover I can’t help but once again reflect on the beauty of nothing. In Exodus 12 we see Moses delivering God’s directions to the Israelites on how to avoid the destruction that was coming by using hyssop to spread blood on the top and sides of their doorways. At midnight, as the angel of death consumed the first born of every Egyptian household and even the livestock, the Israelites were in their homes experiencing…nothing. No wailing mothers. No dead sons or daughters. No burials to come. No tears to cry. God’s gift of nothing mercifully rippled throughout the Israelite community.

The absolute greatest celebration of nothing is Resurrection Day. After Jesus’ death on the cross, His followers  went to the tomb to take care of His body and instead they found nothing. Jesus was not there because He had risen just as He promised He would! Wow! What a time to be grateful for nothing! Because of His life, death and resurrection, nothing can separate us from God’s love if we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Indeed, how magnificent nothing can be. 

Yours in Prayer and Pedagogy, 

Pratiá


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