We have recently had the great city of Hamilton doing work on the city water lines and the attachments leading up to our office building. This is throughout the downtown area, but it feels like they have dug up the same patch of asphalt about 3 times now to do something and then fill it in again. They informed us one day that our water would be shut off for the duration of the morning and then we’d be able to use the restrooms/faucets/fountains again later. The foreman came in to the building soon after it was restored and proceeded to open one of our larger sink faucets to clear out any gunk and air which may now be in the pipes. Have you ever seen the kind of junk that comes out of pipes that have just been worked on? He then ordered us to go through the building to do the same.
Now, the neat thing about getting your pipes worked on isn’t just the cool, splattering sounds and spurts of water with air blasting from the faucet. No, I think the neatest thing is that at some point, if all goes accordingly, the water clears up, the bubbles diminish, and you see the crystal clear stream of refreshment. Everyone take a nice sigh with me. *siiiigh* I’m not a huge fan of drinking water, but I know how good for you it is and if I’m really thirsty, nothing will suffice but a cool glass of water.
In Sunday School this weekend, we were talking about times we have been disappointed with God. We don’t understand why He allowed something to happen or He doesn’t behave the way we expected Him to. This can (and within reason rightly so) lead to sadness, anger – God doesn’t ask us not to feel anything. We have emotions and we will react to events in our lives; the difference is that God wants us to bring them to Him. He calls us to pour out our hearts to Him when we feel we are in the depths of despair. Sadness, anger, unfairness – these emotions can lead to bitterness if they are not addressed and God promises an amazing thing when we bring our concerns to Him.
He takes them and turns them into praise to Him. I don’t know how He does it. There are so many times when I have been so upset with God, for whatever big or small reason, and I go to Him fully intending to give Him the biggest “talking to” of my life. I start with a great show of accusation and tears, but then my heart starts to soften, my tone changes and now as my breath is slowing down, I notice what it is I’m saying to Him:
“God, You are good. Though I don’t understand You or Your ways, I know that You have promised to always love me and to guide me in the best path possible. Even when things look dark or seem unfair, You are still there with me. You love my heart, stained though it is, and You are concerned about the things that concern me. You are writing my story, which is like no one else’s, and it is one of Your precious ποιημα, Your workmanship. (Eph 2:10) Thank You, Lord, for Your kindness, Your hope and Your love. Let me pour it out to others.”
It always amazes me. It’s not as though God says, “Pour out your heart to me – all the ugliness – I can take it, but then you’re going to be left with nothing.” No, He is the Source of hope, the Giver of life, the Lover of our souls. He will not just leave us emptied, but will come behind us and replace our pain with joy and peace. (Romans 8:26) Just like the water in the pipes, let out and spurting and dirty then suddenly clean and clear, God refines our hearts and our prayers to bring Him glory and to renew our fellowship with Him. There’s a reason why He referred to Himself as the Living Water. His Spirit, residing in us, brings new life and healing when sin and the cares of the world make it necessary to replace faulty equipment in our hearts – lies we have been taught and have either blindly or willingly chosen to believe. It’s a painful process, the refining, but boy, the outcome is delicious.