“How come I start out to do something and it always ends up being nothing?” wailed my five-year-old as the dilemma of defeat swept over him. At the moment he was trying to make an airplane with its intricate cross bars and propellers out of a large piece of wood, and it just wasn’t working out as he had visioned it. In his mind, there was a masterpiece of success; in his hand, he held two unrelated pieces of wood. And the tears just had to come.
By one of those strange means that all mothers employ, the conversation was moved from his failure to the story of creation and how God, the Great Creator, has made the world from nothing and upholds it by the Word of His power. My boy sighed and said, “And I make nothing out of something.”
My mind journeyed back through the years and I saw the many times I had gone before God, heartbroken, and cried the same cry of failure. Only mine were adult tears – shed because I had started to do something for Him, but had ended in failure! Adult sorrows, as my heart condemned me because some very good intention or vow had become lost in the maze of everyday problems and was unfulfilled.
I think, of all the weeping, repentant prayers that are prayed, most of them stem from vows made – and unfulfilled. Of sorrows that have come to us because we have failed.
“O God, I’ll visit the sick” we say, only to forget them in the business of our own schedules. Or, “Lord, I’ll work harder for you – I’ll find some place to do Thy work today,” only to admit at the end of the day that this has been like very other day; filled with our own desires and responsibilities of our own household.
But wonder of wonders, God can, if we will let Him, make something from the nothing of our lives. To each of us each morning He gives the raw material of a new day. During that day we are capable of success or failure. The Psalmist realized his own inadequacies when he cried, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” I realize that daily God must do a work of creation within me, if I am to be anything of a success for Him. It must be all of Christ, and nothing of self.
When I try, I make nothing out of something. When I let God take over, He is able to make something from nothing.
(This article, Something From Nothing, by Rev. Gladys I. Johnson, originally appeared in Foursquare Magazine in November, 1958)