At many holiday gatherings, there sits an empty chair. It may be a chair that once sat a husband, a mother or father, or a child. Its significance came only from the love felt for the one who once occupied its place.
Although the chair may be temporarily occupied by another as the house fills with company, the absence of a loved one is still sharply felt and can bring an ache along with the joy. If one is not careful, that pain can override all the goodness of the day and of the season…and overtake your life.
This is a spirit of grief and despair that is not the life of faith we are called to. Faith is a complete trust in the God who formed us; who knows our very thoughts. The enemy of our soul will use negative circumstances in our lives and magnify it until the grief and despair is all we see. The grief becomes a lens that tints and taints all the beauty and purpose of life; until we become withdrawn…thoughts become unclear…life becomes uncertain…and hope seems a distant harbor.
There is another chair that we are told of from history. It is in a synagogue in the town of Nazareth. Jesus read from a Messianic prophecy to the congregation there. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19) from Isaiah 61:1.
Jesus then sat down in what some say is the chair reserved for Messiah, others say it was the chair from which the Rabbi taught signifying His priesthood, and yet others say he sat down amongst the congregation signifying his humanity. The important thing is that He said, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
You could have heard a pin drop. Sometimes, truth is not well received but it is meant to set us free.
Let us encourage ourselves when we see the empty chair in our house and picture Jesus sitting there. The One who was sent to heal the broken-hearted. The One who was sent to deliver the captives and give sight to those who cannot see Him. The One who sets at liberty those whose emotions are bruised and who walk through life in pain.
See Jesus there in your empty chair. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He hears us when we pray according to His will. He is working behind the scenes even when we don’t see any outward signs of change.
For, you see, Jesus is sitting in a chair and the Bible says we are seated with Him in heavenly places. It is the chair the Father had prepared for him. It is at the Father’s right hand.
When Jesus sat on this chair the words, “It is finished” rang through all eternity. The provision for salvation in its entirety had been made once for all. This is our hope. Our faith is attached to this power.
Dear heart, see through this lens. The one of faith, hope, and love. He has already provided and is working on our behalf. See the beauty of the little things of life and begin to give out to others from this place; even if it is but a smile and a kind word. It is only in the giving that we can receive our healing.
Kim Warf is the associate pastor, alongside her husband Paul of New Beginnings Church in Bangor, ME. She is also a Board Member of Women of the Word and has served as Conference Chairman of several WOW conferences in Maine. Paul and Kim have two grown daughters and a beautiful grand-daughter.