Chairs. They come in an infinite number of colors, shapes and sizes. There are rockers, recliners, gliders, arm chairs, easy chairs, benches, stools…you name it. In fact, I counted about ten different types in my own home.
Yet despite the varieties, chairs are barely noticed, taken for granted by most people. I mean, a chair is just someplace to sit, throw down your coat, or take an afternoon nap.
But for some of us, a chair is so much more. It is something noticeable. It’s noticeable because it’s empty. It serves as a constant reminder of someone who once sat there. Its vacancy is highlighted every birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas…reminding us of a smile that we will never see again.
There’s been an empty chair in my family since the summer of 2009. It still reminds me of a certain old story, a spit cup, calloused hands and a permanent farmer’s tan. It reminds me of Levi jeans, cowboy boots, and cornbread and milk. It reminds me of my father.
But that chair also reminds me of hope. It reminds me of countless phone calls, cards, texts and hugs. It reminds me that nothing, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation”…nothing can separate us from the love of God.
The emotions of that day in 2009 came rushing back to me this week when our church family tragically lost a beautiful young wife and mother. I am heartbroken for her family because I know all too well how painful a sudden loss can be. My heart still skips a beat when the phone rings and I’m not expecting a call.
But as quickly as I remembered the pain, I remembered that there was hope…because I saw it in 2009, and this week I saw it roar in like a lion in the form of kind words, pictures, Bible verses, meals, donations, t-shirts, a pastor’s guidance, and fond memories. I saw it in the form of tens of thousands of people from all over the world dedicating a Saturday run in her honor.
I saw an outpouring of love and prayer from others….people who understand the hope we have in Christ…people doing their best to be His hands and feet.
If there’s an empty chair in your house today, I want you to know there is hope for you too.
In fact, if you will leave a comment below with your name, I (and I’m certain others reading this) would like to pray for you personally. You don’t have to share anything you are uncomfortable with. If you want, you can simply use your first name and the comment “Empty Chair.”
I pray that one day your empty chair will turn into a symbol of hope and love as well. I pray that you know peace and comfort, that you know you are loved, and that despite how you may feel, you are never alone. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Go to Him and He will carry you through the storm.