One morning before work, I felt prompted to take a miniature tin bucket with me to give to a family. Pausing to listen for further guidance from the Holy Spirit, I felt that I was to share the following word of exhortation with them and then to present the little pail as a tangible reminder of God's promise to them.
Here is what I sensed the Lord saying. "Before the days of indoor plumbing, fire hydrants, and tanker trucks, fires were fought by creating a line of people from a water source like a pond, a river, or a well, to the site of the blaze. The person closest to the water would fill a bucket then pass it down the line to the person standing closest to the blaze who would then empty it hoping to douse the flames. This process, of course, required many buckets, emptied and refilled many times.
The only responsibility of the person facing the fire was to receive a full bucket of water and then to pour it out on the flames. There was no concern on their part about where the water would come from nor how the bucket was filled. The one closest to the flames never withheld in worry that there may not be enough, but instead poured out with the assurance that another full bucket was coming.
I want to tell you today that as you stand closest to the fire of this health crisis in your child's life, you will always have a full bucket. When you feel completely drained, you can rest knowing that another bucket, full of what it is that you need is coming. You do not have to worry whether you will have enough, or even be enough, for what is ahead because God is going to supply what you need when you need it.
Precious one, we have this assurance, 'Yes, God is more than ready to overwhelm you with every form of grace, so that you will have more than enough of everything - every moment and in every way. He will make you overflow with abundance in every good thing you do' [2 Corinthians 9:8 TPT]. When you need grace, God is going to provide a full bucket for you to simply receive and then to pour out as you minister to your child. When you need wisdom, it will be present in abundance. When you need courage, it will be lavishly given to you. When you need strength, it will be joyfully supplied to you.
I want you to take this bucket as a reminder that you will never be lacking and will always be supplied with more than enough to pour out, 'every moment and in every way.'"
I drove to work that morning with the little pail safely snuggled in my lunch bag. Filled with expectation and with thanksgiving, I found myself brimming with a sweet assurance that the Lord had fulfilled His promise to give me an instructed tongue to know the word that sustains the weary [Isaiah 50:4].
Not too long into my shift, the Lord showed me the particular family with whom I was to share this word of encouragement. However, as the day unfolded there never seemed to be the "right" time to give them the bucket. Even when I took the family to talk with the doctor and then escorted them to recovery to see the patient, I never sensed the Spirit’s, "now."
A bit disappointed that the window of opportunity had seemingly closed, I tucked the word away and waited. Near the end of my shift, I noticed that the patient had been moved to a room upstairs instead of being discharged home. Hope was reignited as the door of opportunity to potentially connect with the family in the food court on the main concourse was opened.
Sadly, however, not only did that encounter not happen but also, I discovered that the patient was discharged before I had even clocked in the next morning! Thinking the door to minister to that family was now completely shut, I stuck the bucket back in my lunch bag. And, truth be told, as the busyness and intensity of the week unfolded, I forgot all about it.
A couple of days later, I felt prompted to go to the food court to eat my lunch. Coming down the back stairwell and passing through the lobby, I spotted that very family exiting the hospital. I couldn’t believe it! With a warm and animated greeting, I asked them to wait for just a moment because I had something to give them. Chatting while I reached into the bottom of my lunch bag, I found out that they had come back to the hospital for a follow-up clinic appointment.
Slowly handing the bucket to the mother, I shared what the Lord had put on my heart earlier in the week. When I finished, she mustered a half-smile and then apologetically said, "I'm gonna cry." She hugged me quickly and then knelt down beside her daughter who was sitting in a wheelchair and confidently said, "My bucket will always be full." I knew at that moment that she had received the word!
As I sat at the lunch counter reflecting on the entire experience, it struck me that there is blessing in being willing to wait. Even though I knew I had a word for that family, there was blessing in setting aside my eagerness and my "knowing" to wait for the Lord's "yes." Why? Because those few precious moments in that bustling hospital lobby confirmed without a doubt that it was clearly "the right time."
In his teaching "God is Our Constant,” Graham Cooke shares this important truth. "Guidance is relational, it’s not functional. [You] take care of the relationship, God takes care of the guidance, always." The Apostle Paul explains it this way. As you learn to cultivate intimacy with God by waiting on Him and waiting in Him, "The life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life" [Ephesians 3:17 TPT]. That is why I am willing to wait on God's timing. When I encounter and interact with people, I want them to be comforted by Christ's love, not assaulted by my agenda.
Perhaps the Lord has put a word of encouragement, or even a word of knowledge, on your heart for a specific person and the opportunity to share has not manifested. Don't get frustrated. Don't be discouraged. And don't over-analyze your ability to hear God's voice. Most importantly, please don't cave to pressure to perform for God by manufacturing an encounter in a zealous crusade to make sure the person hears "the word of the Lord." Remember, Beloved, people don't need our agenda, they need the Father's love.
Instead, I invite you to rest in partnership with God. Abide in attentive intimacy with Jesus. Let his love become the very source and root of your life as you joyfully wait for the Spirit’s “now.” Out of the overflow, the guidance (and perhaps the refining of the word you are to share) will come and you will rediscover the truth of Matthew 5:4, “What delight comes to you when you wait upon the Lord..." [TPT].
Why not pause, right now, and surrender "it" to the One whose timing is perfect. This prayer by Twila Paris is a great starting place.
“I will wait on the Lord, I will wait for His Word.
Because I fear His holy name, I will wait.
Before I move, before I speak, perfect wisdom will I seek.
And I will wait as long as it takes.
I will wait on the Lord.”
[Twila Paris | 1990 Ariose Music | Mountain Spring Music CCLI 11366574].
With joyful expectation and joy-filled anticipation, I believe you will know His "now" and it will be the "right" time. Let's watch and see what God does!
If music is your language of prayer, here is a setting of I Will Wait sung by Twila Paris. Here is another song of a simple declaration that has been meaningful to me over the last few years, I Don't Mind Waiting.
Looking for short video exhortations of encouragement? Visit my YouTube channel for a variety of messages that offer a word of exhortation to help you take another step in your journey of faith.