Some time ago I read a story of a wealthy family whose son, Bill, was about to graduate from high school. It was the custom in the affluent neighbourhood in which they lived for parents to give the one graduating a car.
For months before the graduation, Bill and his father looked at many different cars and a week before the graduation they found the perfect one.
On the eve of his graduation, Bill's father handed him a gift-wrapped Bible. Bill was so angry that he threw the Bible on the ground and stormed out of the house. What about the promised car?
Bill and his father never saw each other again.
Many years later, his father's death brought Bill home. As he sat one night going through the possessions that he was to inherit from his father, he came across that same Bible.
He brushed away the dust and opened it, to find a cheque—dated the day of his graduation—for the exact amount of the car they had chosen together.
It makes me wonder how many people may have done exactly the same sort of thing with God—tossed aside a wonderful promise from God because they didn't understand it, or they didn't believe it was possible.
We so often hear, 'If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.'
Some of us may have been taken in, at some point in our lives, by empty promises that tell us we can have something for nothing. We see ads on TV that promise us we can be rich, attractive or famous if we buy whatever it is they're selling.
It doesn't take long for us to realise that many of the promises we're given are empty. But God is different.
God has never made a promise that was too good to be true. Instead of promises that are empty, at Easter God gave us 'emptiness' that is full of promise.
There was the empty cross—the promise of God's love and forgiveness. There is the empty tomb—when Jesus rose again he conquered death and promises new life in relationship with God. There are the empty burial clothes in the tomb—Jesus is alive and the promise of Jesus desire to know us and be part of our lives.
The fact that each of these things is empty assures us that God's promises are real. The cross, the tomb, the grave clothes, could not contain Jesus.
These three 'empty' things are promises of fullness for our lives. We just need to accept the promises given freely to us.