Hope in the Empty Spaces

by Stacy J. Lowe December 21, 2023
“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” Revelation 21:5a (ESV)

It was a 45-foot-long burst of color in the middle of an alleyway — a mural painted on the concrete a few years ago to help revitalize an older, more run-down part of the city. I can only imagine the many hours the artist must have spent creating this design and bringing it to life … but it was no longer the same. What had once been vibrant and alive had dulled with sun-bleaching and age.

Recently as I passed by the alley, I noticed a few people gathered around with paint rollers and buckets, so I stopped to watch. Before I knew it, the picture on the ground was gone, covered beneath a blanket of white in preparation for something new. As of this writing, the space has yet to be filled in.

Life’s like that sometimes. We may spend days, months or maybe even years pouring into something only to have it gradually fade away — a relationship, a job, a church community, a ministry opportunity. It may even be something good, but like that mural, it no longer satisfies the purpose for which it was created, and we have to say goodbye.

Hope can be hard in those now empty spaces as the comfort of the familiar gives way to the uncertainty of the not yet created. That’s why I love the encouragement found in today’s key verse:

“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’” (Revelation 21:5a).

The verses leading up to this proclaim things God will do (future tense) in eternity: He will live with His people, He will wipe away every tear, and He will ensure that death is no more (Revelation 21:1-4). Those promises are beautiful, but this one in verse 5 is different. This one is in the present tense, assuring us that right now, at this very moment, God is making all things new!

But just as the old mural had to be covered before new brushstrokes could be added, sometimes we need those empty spaces to make room for what God wants to do next. It’s not a replacement of what was; it’s the creation of something new built on the foundation of all that’s come before. And while we may not know what the new picture will look like, we can trust that whatever God chooses to create, it will be something beautiful.

I still find my way to that alley a couple times a week. Each time, I look over to check the progress of the new painting. It’s far from complete — but then again, so am I. I know one day soon the brushstrokes will come together and begin to make sense, and the picture will come alive. It is being made new — just like you and me.

Father, when I find myself staring down those empty spaces, help me not to look back with longing but to look forward with hope for what’s to come. Endings can be hard, but You’ve promised to make all things new. May I cling to that always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Holidays and anniversaries can bring a complex combination of joy and sorrow. And often we struggle to separate those emotions. We want to wrap everything up in a bow, but when we look at God’s Word, rarely do things end up that way. That's why we sat down with Dr. Joel Muddamalle on The Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast for a special conversation called “Ask a Theologian: How Can I Be Joyful When I’m Grieving This Christmas?” Click here to listen; you might be surprised by the answer.



For more from Stacy J. Lowe, you can connect with her over on Instagram.


Proverbs 16:3-4, “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble” (ESV).

Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT).

With just a handful of days left until we turn the page to a new year, it’s a good time to reflect on what’s been and prepare for what’s to come. Take a few moments today to thank God for showing up in your empty spaces this year, and for those spaces that have yet to be filled back in, ask Him to give you endurance to hope for what’s to come.

How have you seen God work in and through your empty spaces? We’d love for you to share about it in the comments.

© 2023 by Stacy J. Lowe. All rights reserved.

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