My personal calling is to love students, share the gospel with them, and live life with them every day...and to enjoy the journey.

"We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us." 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Thursday, June 19, 2008

There's No Such Thing As a Free Lunch...Just Free Water

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” I have heard that adage countless times in my life. It really isn’t that great an adage. It just doesn’t have any grit, you know what I mean? You want an adage to mean something, to have essence. You want it to move you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a free lunch, but how did that become a celebrated adage?

I was kind of in a funk the other day. I mean a real funk. I felt like a Daniel Powter song. It was pretty bad. There had been a series of events that had been compacting in my life. The ending that I had been anticipating took a weird turn. All at once, it seemed, my personal, professional, and spiritual struggles converged at a point and at a level I was unprepared to manage. I was mad and sad, wounded and angry, confused and disappointed. I had a lot of questions for God. Normally, this would be a time when I could lean on those closest to me for encouragement, but in this case, they were experiencing a similar time of frustration.

I needed to get away for some alone time with God. I needed Him to not only hear my questions, but also answer my questions. But I was sensing He wanted me to wait. My spiritual frustration continued to grow. I decided to follow through on that alone time. I took off for a 5-mile run. It was a nice day, I needed the exercise, and it was a great way to talk to God. About 30 minutes into the run, I passed a guy who had a wagon full of bottled water. He was offering free water to runners and riders that passed him on the trail. When I passed, he offered me free water. I declined. I’m not sure why I declined because I was really thirsty. I guess it just caught me off guard. Maybe I assumed there was a catch. I don’t know why I said no, but I wasn’t ten steps past the man with free water that I began to regret my decision.

I continued to run, but I began to be really bothered about the offer for free water. Why would that guy do that? What did he want in return? Was it really free? I began to be restless in my heart and I realized that God was trying to teach me something. I began to try to put the pieces together theologically and scripturally about what it was that God wanted to show me. I thought about salvation. It’s free, right? I thought about grace. God’s grace is free, isn’t it? I know, God is reminding me that water is a symbolic picture of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in my life. The more I tried to figure it out, the more I realized that I was getting ahead of God. He was trying to show me something and I wouldn’t let Him. So I quit thinking and just focused on running. About that time, I was passing the free water guy again. He asked me again if I wanted free water. I stopped, said yes, and then I asked why. The free water man told me that he was there to be a blessing. He wanted to be an encouragement to someone who was discouraged. I told him I was blessed and that I was encouraged. He told me that God loved me. I said I knew that, but needed to be reminded. The next few miles were different.

God loves me. God is the only one that can bring peace to my soul when I am hurting. He is the only thing that can make me rest easy. God was reminding me that He loved me that day. I was looking for something too big and too complex, when God knew that my hurting soul just needed to be reminded of His love. God worked a miracle in my life that day. Through the generosity of a stranger, He began to heal my hurting soul. He didn’t use those around me, or even His Word. He chose to use a middle-aged man with a wagon full of water to remind me of His love for me. That was good water, water that I needed; water that was healing and soothing; water that was pure.

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but I’m thankful for free water.

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