Someone recently asked me, “When was the last time you made something from nothing?” At first I was baffled. Based on my understanding, God is the only Being who has created something from nothing. Ex nihilo.
Then I got to thinking. When was the last time I watched God produce something in my life I knew I was lacking? Memories came to me, and I decided to share them along with my answer to this question.
When my father was diagnosed with brain cancer in January 2009, my parents moved near me so he could be close to our hospital for cancer care and so a son could be nearby. What I didn’t realize at the beginning was how I would be called on to serve as a caregiver in so many ways.
I knew nothing about this role and didn’t know how best to help my parents. I had so much to learn, and I learned by doing—by literally making something out of nothing. But ultimately this was God working in my life and teaching me to be a servant.
When my dad’s legs gave out and he couldn’t get back up (January 2011), I was just a phone call away. When Mom needed to run to the supermarket, I sat with Dad and edited books on my laptop. I just tried to be there for him, even though he mostly slept and rarely, if ever, communicated.
Sometimes I felt helpless and wished I knew what to do—what to say—to make everything better. Of course, I didn’t. But deep down inside I knew that just being there for my parents was the role God had calling me to fill at that time in my life.
When Dad was close to death in August 2011, I was there for my mom. I was someone she could talk to, someone she could hug, someone who understood the grief of losing a loved one. And after he breathed his last breath, I held her again, not really knowing what else to do.
But sometimes that’s enough.
At the beginning I didn’t realize how much I would be called on to give what I didn’t possess. Ultimately, when I look back and remember my mom’s thank-you, I realize that this something—this whatever God wanted me to do at the time—did come from nothing because it didn’t come from anything I had in me.
God had to provide the grace to do what needed to be done.
My mom had the real job of taking care of my dad, but I had a role to play too. Where did the strength to be a caregiver, especially for my own father, come from? God decreed that this was the next chapter in my life, and He enabled me to do what needed to be done.
I believe all of us can rise above our own self-expectations and do more—and be more—than we ever thought we could . . . but only as God works His grace in our lives. In fact, it’s only when we realize we’re nothing in ourselves that God makes something special out of our lives. By His grace, we can rise to the occasion and be something when nothing seems like all we have to give.
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