The Empty Seats

I had been busy these past few days helping a sick friend. Since driving to places made it difficult for her, I volunteered to drive her and brought her to her doctor. It was a beautiful morning that day with the temperature being comfortable though the sun was shining so brightly. I dropped her off by the Clinic’s front door and veered to find a spot in the middle of the lot.

rows of empty seats in a doctor's office
As I followed to enter the medical office, I was greeted by a surprising silence. All of the seats were empty except for the one being occupied by my friend as she waited for the nurse to call her. Working at the hospital for many years in the past, I knew that must be a welcoming break for the staff working in that facility. Even their phones were extremely idle.

I took out a piece of paper and pen from my purse I intentionally brought with me since I anticipated the usual long waits in any doctor’s visits. I thought of writing about anything that came to mind to just “kill the time”, so to speak.

Nothing. At each passing minute, my attention was distracted by those empty seats. I did not know why. I had a mixed feeling. That those empty seats meant a lot. It could mean that some patients were healed. Or maybe others were still going through whatever diagnoses were found out and caused them some symptoms. I wanted to be ecstatic. But I knew there was something deceiving with those rows upon rows of empty seats. They would always be there. Waiting if not for the old patients, welcoming the new, anxious ones.

As I tried to scribble, the front door opened wide. In came a family of three with a baby. Followed by a mother and young son. Then, a female teen-ager toting her big purse. One after another, the seats started to be filled. Then I heard the receptionists answered the phone lines. One after another.

“Are you okay?” asked my friend I didn’t even notice already had come out after seeing her doctor.

“Done already? Wow! That was quick!”

As she made another follow-up appointment, I looked around and confirmed that those empty seats were deceiving. Being empty did not mean it was a quiet day for the staff. Being empty did not mean that patients were doing well, in fact, more came in, looking nervous.

The Bible warns for us not to “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” – Ephesians 5:6 (ESV)

Sins abound around us. Not all things that appear harmless will benefit us. A lot of “too good to be true” promises are spoken. Some things may appear innocent but in reality, those things are not pleasing to God. They are all deceiving. They are all empty.

However, there is an empty seat reserved by God for each of us. The seat of surrender. He wants us to make that appointment to see Him and for us to empty ourselves. That is the only way for our sickness to be healed. For our uncleanness to be clean. For our unrighteousness to become righteous. For our hopelessness to become hopeful. For our weaknesses to become strength. For our weariness to find comfort. All because of Jesus.

"Empty me, Oh Lord..."

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