Emptied, Not Empty-Handed

Today an unsocial puff drifts by and prompts my reflection of the sky, that vast ocean of ozone on which clouds sail like ships. Vessels of threatening thunder-carriers and wispy wanderers command our gaze. Some float like Lone Rangers while others form a fleet that blankets the blue above in a haze. In creation I see Creator; in the icon, the Infinite; in the clouds, Christ.

The earth oft rejects her offerings on high;

dams break and mud slides and people gasp, “Why?”

Why didn’t you come last week, when we cried?

Why can’t you comply? Your own self, deny?”


We hide from the tears that gush from her eyes,

then mock as she dries, so selflessly dies.


No wonder today she brisks by so bligh.

No “Hi” or “Goodbye,” not even a sigh.

She’s poured herself out, served well, magnified;

now drawn toward sun’s rise, she vacates this sky.


On drought-ridden earth the Word does arrive,

but human-divine mystifies mankind.

“Why didn’t you come as regal, refined?

Why can’t you comply? Your own self, deny?”


They hide from the flood that breaks from his side,

then mock as he cries, so selflessly dies.


Entombed by the wounds that sin and death prized,

still serving, he vies for love while inside.

But God, glorified! The Word, tried by fire

then raises to life! Grave emptied! Death died!


I sag with the drops of love to supply.

I pour myself out and selflessly die –

a bridesmaid to brides who constantly chide:

“Why won’t you comply? Your own self, deny?”


These cycles equate: water heats, will rise,

condense and collide, then fall from the sky;

and emptied insides – ebbed souls at low tide –

fill, flow, arise! when in you we hide.


Drench us, salty tears, streaming from his eyes.

Drown us, scarlet flood, spilling from his side.

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.” (Is 55.8-11, MSG)

Amy Leigh Bamberg

Amy Leigh is an Alabama native, but never drinks sweet tea or cheers for the Crimson Tide. Ever. She grew up working on her family’s cattle and catfish farm, shucking corn, slinging cow patties, and singing in the church choir. But, she longed for more. She attended Auburn University and studied horticulture and worked for several years in the commercial and residential sectors of the green industry. Then she joined the staff of a local church, equipping thousands of volunteers, developing systems and structures, and pastoring every step of the way. She attended Dallas Theological Seminary where the focus of her coursework was theology of the body, theology of beauty, and the role of women in ministry. Amy Leigh works as a free-lance landscape designer, consultant, author, and teacher. And she still longs for more, which is why her articles address topics such as faith, culture, creation, the church, and relationships.