Power and Water

Power outages are becoming more and more common and lasting longer and longer. For country dwellers, lack of electric power to run our well pump means no water. Yes, we have bottled water available for purchase so our drinking supply is limited only by our dollars, but daily showers don’t happen. Healthy hand washing becomes burdensome at best. Worst of all, toilets don’t flush without water, so we walk or drive to get water and bring it home. After four days, I’m ready to move to a hotel where the electricity works and water is plentiful.
Four days without water, and the plight of those around the world who walk several kilometers to the nearest well for a bucket of water, begins to take on some reality for me. Not just for a few days till the power is restored, but every day of their lives, they are limited to the water in that bucket. The blessing of water, to drink, to wash, to clear away our human waste is beyond measure. Regardless of the trouble and pain that invade our lives, we can be grateful that we have easy access to clean healthy water.
We can derive two “learnings” from that gratitude. First, we need to care for our precious water. At times it feels as if environmentalists are brow beating us with the message – conserve water – care for it – don’t waste it. These last two power outages have jerked me out of my apathy. I need to listen to their wisdom.
Second, God calls us to share our blessings with those who have none. We can and must support nongovernmental organizations that dig wells in far off countries.
Yes, this spring we’ve learned it’s inconvenient to live without electricity, but access to electricity is not essential to human life. Access to water is.
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38 NIV)

Hope

During the month of June, high school students say “I hope I pass my exams” or “I hope I get that eighty average I need.” Worried parents hope their child will make the right choices in life. The unemployed hope this next interview will result in a job offer.
Psychologists tells us, Hope is essential for the human Spirit. When we lose all hope, suicide becomes a welcome escape.
As a Christian, I place my hope in God. Over the years, I have developed a four step process that carries me through difficult situations.
1. Prepare – Research, study, get ready for life’s tasks
2. Pray – Thank God for this opportunity, no matter how difficult. Ask God for help.
3. Proceed trusting in God and giving my absolute best.
4. Pray – The job done, the experience over, give responsibility for results to God.
Those “Four P’s” give me hope. I’ll never forget my despair, when driving to the home of a couple whose eight year old girl had been killed in an unusual accident. I was overwhelmed. What did I have to offer in the midst of this tragedy? I wanted to run like Jonah in the opposite direction. How could I hope to help these grieving parents. I stopped the car along the road to pray.
“God, my only hope lies in you. You got me into this. You called me to ministry. I’ve had years of training and experience, yet I’m not prepared. Show me what to do and say because I’m lost. I’ll give my best, and my hope is in you. Use my efforts Lord, in Jesus’ name. Amen”
Theologian Henri Nouwen wrote, “Hope is willing to leave unanswered questions unanswered and unknown futures unknown. Hope makes you see God’s guiding hand not only in the gentle and pleasant moments but also in the shadows of disappointment and darkness.” (p.60)
In God, there is hope even on the worst or the best of days. For that I am truly grateful.

Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on God’s Grace to be given you … (I Peter 1:13)