Sunday, December 12, 2021

What to do When We’re Empty

by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

When my stomach talks, I listen. Sometimes, too often. 

When I wake up early in the morning, it’s talking. About two hours later, it speaks again. Then we carry on another conversation around 11:00 that morning. A couple of hours later, and we’re at it again. Then again around 6 p.m. And yes, before bedtime, it’s yelling again. 

I once ate as often as my stomach talked. But that was when my youthful nature still reigned, and my metabolism ran in high gear. I could eat all I wanted—and as much of it—and not gain a pound. Around forty, that changed—and it is still changing. My stomach still speaks as often as it always did, but now I either ignore it for a few hours or fill it with some healthier foods that won’t cause weight gain since age has slowed my metabolism. 

I’ve also learned through the years that filling my stomach with certain things has unwelcome consequences—gaining weight not included. I’ll either end up with a stomachache, or I’ll make several trips to the bathroom. Something I might not have time for, especially if I’m teaching a class at school, preaching a sermon, teaching a Sunday school lesson, or speaking at a conference. 

Jonah discovered a little about the stomach too—the stomach of a big fish. Whether the fish was a whale or matters little. Whatever it was, the fish was large enough to swallow him. I don’t know what Jonah heard, smelled, or saw in the belly of that fish, but I do know he wanted to get out because he was running on empty. 

“I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me (Jonah 2:2 NLT)!

Fortunately, God heard his cry of repentance and instructed the fish to vomit him on dry land. Jonah then decided he’d do what God had instructed him to do to begin with: preach to the wicked Ninevites. 

Our stomachs talk when they’re empty, and Jonah was empty. Empty because he had disobeyed God. Empty because he wanted to go his way rather than God’s way. Empty because he was running from God’s plan for him. Empty because he forgot God traveled with him everywhere he voyaged. Empty in all respects.

Life has a way of mimicking our stomachs when they’re empty. We hit rock bottom with no way to look but up. Maybe we’re there because of bad decisions we’ve made or because someone else made them for us. Perhaps, we’re there because we pursued our plan rather than God’s. Like the gas needle hovering near empty, we feel as if we only have a few miles to go before we’re out of fuel. Our stomachs are talking and we’re listening, but we don’t know where to turn. 

And writers aren’t immune to these empty spells. We hear the little voice that tells us we have nothing more to contribute, that no agent could want to represent us, that our manuscripts are trash—not worthy of anyone reading—that we’ll never make the best-seller list or be able to attach award-winning to our name. We stare at the page—or computer screen—and can’t manufacture one good word or thought. Our enemy tells us to throw in the towel. 

God says differently. Our answer is the same as Jonah’s: cry out to God. He knows where we are, how we got there, and where the answer lies. He will deliver if we ask. Looking for other stuff to make our stomachs stop growling won’t work. Only a close relationship with our Creator, as well as following His plan for us, will fill our empty spot. 

And when we ask, God will fill our stomachs with what truly satisfies us. Our stomachs—our minds, wills, and emotions—will stop growling for the things that won’t satisfy. And God will vomit us onto a clean stunning beachfront where life will deliver the peace He wants us to enjoy.

If you’re empty, turn to the stomach filler.


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God ( and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, DON'T JUST LIVE...REALLY LIVE, debuted in October of 2021. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and pastor.


  1. Thanks, Martin, for the encouragement to keep our priorities in order and fill up with God and not the world or our own ideas.

  2. It's so easy to run dry...even when I am studying the Word for a sermon, an article, or a book. I think it is because I'm doing so with the listener/reader in mind. But I've discovered the cure to that dryness for me. Pick a passage or book and work on it one-on-one; just me and the Holy Spirit. No one else in mind, just making a personal connection with Him; taking time to listen and have fellowship with Him. That fills me up, and equips me for the job ahead. I love this article. Thank you so much for encouraging us on!!

  3. This message touched my heart because I have been feeling empty of words. I agree with Julie Coleman, so much of my writing and study is to prepare for retreat sessions and blog posts. So in this dry season of pandemic living, I am reading Colossians with fresh eyes...just for me.