Empty Chairs

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.

Empty Chairs

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Elizabeth

    Best post ever! Thanks for sharing your heart.

    • Stephen

      Thank you, Elizabeth!

  • Elaine

    Beautiful tribute to lost loved ones everywhere and hope for those left behind.

    • jeanie flanagan

      You nailed it Stephen. So true. Our hope is in Jesus Christ.

    • Stephen

      Thank you, both…There is hope for those left behind!

  • Great post Steve.

    • Stephen

      Thanks, Kelli!

  • Cindy Boyer

    I love everything you write, but this is the best one .

    • Stephen

      Thanks, Cindy!

  • Debbie Skeens

    Wow…Stephen, you hit the nail on the head. I, too, have those special chairs in my house. I fill so close when I sit in those special chairs.

    • Stephen

      Thank you for reading, Debbie! Praying for you.

  • Doug Schatz

    You’re a good man, Steve

    • Stephen

      Thanks for the kind words, Doug. I hope you are well!

  • Sheila

    I miss my dad every day. I’m especially sad that he is not here to know his great granddaughter and that there will be an empty chair at my daughter’s wedding where he should be sitting. Thanks, Steve for another powerful post.

    • Stephen

      Sheila, I’m praying for you. I know exactly what you mean.

  • Jennifer

    Empty Chair. Thank you for your inspiring words!!!!

    • Stephen

      Thank you for reading, Jennifer. I’m praying for you.

  • Stephanie

    Stephanie- love this post Steve. I face this thought all the time now that my dad and grandmother are gone. Holidays and birthdays are definitely not the same. Thank you for these words of hope and comfort. I know they are watching over me and my family each and every day.

    • Stephen

      Stephanie, thank you for sharing. I’m praying for you.