“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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