The Gift of NothingAugust 7, 2012 - 5:00 am
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” — Hosea 2:14
Of all the places I might take my wife on a second honeymoon, the desert is the last place that I would pick! But when God speaks about reconnecting with His estranged nation, that’s exactly where He plans to take His bride. The desert, according to the LORD, is the perfect place to rekindle the flame of love. Why?
A cute book came out a number of years ago called The Gift of Nothing. It is about a cat named Mooch who wants to get a present for his canine friend named Earl. But Mooch can’t think of anything to give Earl, who already has everything. After thinking it over, Mooch comes up with an ingenious idea. He finds a big box, wraps it up, and gives Earl “nothing.” Earl is confused, and looking into the empty box, he says, “There’s nothing here!”
“Yes!” says Mooch. “Nothing… except me and you.” The story ends by saying, “Mooch and Earl enjoyed nothing. And everything.”
This clever little story reminds us that sometimes, less is more. Things can be distracting and disorienting. Nothingness helps us focus on what really matters. The desert is the perfect place for God to connect with His people. It is full of nothing. The Hebrew word for desert is midbar. It is almost exactly the same as the word midaber, which means “one who speaks.” The Sages tell us that this is because in the desert, we are able to hear the One who speaks. In the silence, we are able to hear His word.
This explains why God began His relationship with Israel in the desert, just after He took them out of Egypt. It was in the desert that God gave the Torah to the Israelites. And it is in the desert, God tells us in Hosea, that He will reconnect with His nation once again. The desert is a huge expanse of nothingness. With nothing else filling her space, Israel would have plenty of room for God.
We are very blessed to live in a time when many people have many things. But sometimes they can distract us from our connection with God. At least once a week, create a desert in your life. Silence the phone, unplug the TV, and turn off the computer. Gather your children and your loved ones together and enjoy the nothing. And everything.