In late September of 2002, God spoke to me.
You will soon be leaving the life you know to follow your husband.
That was all, no more and no less. I was washing dishes at the same sink where I still stand each morning, and His words sliced across my random thoughts like a knife, edged with promise and fear. I did not know what they meant, but I wrote them down that night in my journal, along with a separate petition: my first hesitant prayer about maybe — possibly — cautiously — trying to bear another child after being warned six years before to never attempt it again.
I was already pregnant that day. And God was birthing something else, too. Just two weeks later, the Pastor and I sat on the couch, minus both of our jobs and plus a mountain of uncertainty. We did not know where to go.
In Colossians 1:9, Paul has shared his thankfulness for the church. Now he tells them about his always-faithful, never-ceasing, first-on-the-list prayer for their lives:
That you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
The Greek word for filled here is pleroo, which means “fill to the full, cause to abound, pour in to the top so that nothing shall be wanting.”
I don’t know about you, but I need some good pleroo. (I’d stop here and tell you to sing that to the tune of Taylor Swift’s song “22,” but then you’d hate me all day, so I won’t.) I have moments where longing rattles around inside, echoing against soul-rooms I think I’ve filled but which become vacant again all too soon. Some hours, like the ones on the couch with Mike in 2002, feel dry, dusty, empty.
But Paul prays that we can be filled. Abounding. Spilling over onto the floor because we’ve run out of space to hold all the hope inside us.
And what will fill us? The knowledge of God’s will.
A few posts ago in The Colossians Project, we talked about God’s will, which is an unstoppable force already at work in the lives of the believer. It’s not hard to find or even something we go searching for; if you’re seeking Him, you’re living it, because God is in control. He is faithful to complete His work. His paths lead us to righteousness for His name’s sake.
Paul says that this is half of what fills us up to the full — the knowledge that God is with us, for us, guarding our days, planning our steps for the sake of His glory.
But the other half of the equation is equally important: that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
God’s will becomes harder to grasp when we try to hold it in our own hands — centering the world on our own desires, trying to cram grand and eternal purposes into small and finite hearts. To be truly filled, we must let go of our careful plans and find our joy in the things that ultimately matter to God, not in our own circumstances. We must seek God’s will not only for what He has for us, but for what He has for His glory in all of His infinite spiritual wisdom and understanding, not just our own.
Back in September of 2002, Mike and I did not know where to go, but we knew we were already headed there, because God’s will is moving and active and forward. We knew what He wanted for His world would come to pass, whatever happened with us. We tied ourselves there (and have on many, many days since), and found a path out of the darkness and into purpose and hope.
Like Paul, I am praying this for you today. If you are empty, let the truth that God is working in all of His spiritual wisdom and understanding drip into your heart. If you are dragging your tent through a desert, and every place you pitch it looks the same, stop here and dig deep into well of the knowledge of His will, and be filled.
Hi Kelly, Thanks for taking the time to go through Colossians. I am reading with you, slowly, trying to stay focused. My thoughts just allllllll over the place! Ha!
Keep at it, Joann! God always uses His word. He won’t let you or me get in the way of it 🙂