Empty Frames, Full Faith


Years ago, Guideposts magazine told the story of John Turner who was raised on a Mississippi plantation. He wanted to move to the city to find a better job and a new life but he was a poor black man with no connections. How could he realize his dream?

One night John attended a revival meeting. The preacher shouted, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Those words rang in John’s ears.

When he got home that night, John sat an empty jar by his bedside. It became his “evidence jar.” God would help him fill it as many times as he needed to get to the city.

John didn’t leave it all to God. He worked hard and he put every spare nickel into the evidence jar. After many months of sweat and saving, he left the plantation.

In the city, John met and married his wife. He hung an empty picture frame on the wall of their new home explaining that it would one day hold the deed to their house. At the birth of each child, John hung two empty frames – one for their high school diploma and the other for their college diploma.

At one point, John had thirteen empty frames hanging on the walls of his home. The frames were a constant reminder to the family of what they needed to do and that God would help them see it through.

The frames slowly began to fill. After many years, all of the frames finally contained the parchments indicating that the Turner family’s goals had been reached through the grace of God. Those who knew the Turner family saw people with great vision and extraordinary faith.

John Turner saw what nobody else could see and he acted on the evidence of things not seen.

John’s wife said, “God doesn’t always send signs, sometimes you have to put them up yourself. He sees them and knows that you believe, even when you can’t see around the curve in the road. And he honors that.”

I’ve heard of authors who cut out the New York Times bestsellers list, replace the number one book with the title of their book, and then place it prominently somewhere so that they might be inspired to one day see it become a reality.

On the wall behind my desk is a map of the world that reminds me of Mission 227. Each time I make progress in my personal adventure, I put a pin in the appropriate nation. There are 43 so far. I have 184 to go!

What about you? Do you need to put an evidence jar on your bedside table? Do you need to hang an empty frame in a prominent place? Would a mock up of the New York Times bestseller list inspire you to accomplish your writing goals?

Is there something you can do to give your faith endurance and inspire you to trust God to meet your goals?

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