So yesterday was very hot...
It was three thirty in the afternoon. I had just spent a long hot day at the European market in Chesterton, and after packing everything into the van I had finally left. Having only one dollar left in my wallet, my brother being the dear sibling he is offered to buy me a cold bottle of water which I needed badly.
Then I dropped him off and was on my way back to the store to unpack the van. But on my way I spotted a homeless man, trudging on the sidewalk, clutching a paper cup which I could only assume was water on such a hot day. But I could not assume the water was cold, or was enough.
I had the impulse to buy the man a cold bottle of water, and I took it, knowing that if I thought it through too much I would rabbit out and then feel guilty later. I couldn't give this guy a home, or new clothes, or even food. I didn't have any of those things. All I had was my dollar, and some change, that I hoped I would be able to buy a bottle of water with.
So I turned on my signal to go left into the 7-Eleven, and of course was stopped by a stream of oncoming traffick. At first I was annoyed at this, but the thought suddenly entered into my brain "God's timing." I realized that the man was walking, and going much slower than I had been going in my van. It was very likely that I would be able to buy the water, and turn back down the road to give it to him before he passed where I was.
So I just kept saying it to myself. "Gods timing, God's timing, God's timing..." over and over, and letting myself take the time the task needed, and not getting rushed and flustered. I was able to buy a bottle of water, and go back, but I could not find the man at all.
This was confusing to me.
Let's backpedal a bit. The reason why I followed this impulse is because I felt that it had come from God. Never have I followed an impulse like this and regretted it. When God puts these ideas into my head and I follow through with them I very often see that I did exactly what I was supposed to. I've also been on the receiving end of these impulses. There have been times in my life when someone I barely knew at all or even a complete stranger looked me straight in the eye and told me God was with me when I was going through a rough time, and giving me insight incredibly pertinent to whatever it was I was going through at the time. These aren't normal impulses like bursting into song or buying ice cream. These are calls to move.
So when I bought the water it was confusing to me as to why its intended was no where to be found. But I still had to work, and chose not to dwell too much on it. I had stopped repeating "God's timing" to myself.
I brought the bottle into the store with me, as I didn't want it to get warm in my van outside. It sat on my desk for a time, and then having decided that even though I had already had a bottle of water, and was then at a location where I had running water at my disposal, I would go ahead and drink the bottle I had just bought for the homeless man in the heat. I was still dehydrated after all, and I hadn't been able to find him, so it made sense.
Then I got off work, and went to Aldi to pick up some snacks with my brothers card for the gaming session I was having with my friends that night. Rushing out of the parking lot I once again spotted the homeless man. But this time I had no water, and no more dollar. Only my brother's credit card, and no permission to buy a bottle of water with it.
It didn't make sense that I saw the man there. When I had seen him before, he had been walking Westward towards downtown. He was now on the East side of town, literally in the opposite direction I had seen him going.
The thing is though, I had been so keen before to stay patient and trust in God's timing. I truly believed when buying the water that I would be able to get the water to that man, and I didn't have to worry about traffick or check out lines impeding me, because this was a Spirit impulse.
But this act of Jesus for some reason still had ramifications for me. Even though I was "trusting" in God's timing, I expected to give the water at a certain place, at a certain time. And when that time and place passed I gave up. I drank the water myself, even though I had already had water, and had access to clean cold water for free where I was.
I don't think God sacrificed this man's need for my lesson. He had a cup already, I have no doubt God was providing this man with water. But God was still reminding me of his timing.
I/We do this in life all the time. We see a need in our lives and say we trust that God will provide, then get discouraged when God doesn't fulfill the need at the exact time, and in the exact way that we think he should. The best example I can think of is how my family has been wanting to move out of the Demotte area for the last four years. The problem is that we're stuck here. We can't afford the cost of a move, and can barely afford the place we live in now. My mother keeps saying "When God provides a way we'll move." But I've been getting frustrated with this, with God, and chomping at the bit. "No!" I think, "We need to move now!"
But moving, just like many things in life, is like a bottle of water you buy for a homeless man. All He asked me to do was buy the water, then go about my business. God was choosing the when and the where, and he in his superior knowledge would have his reasons. Just like conditional love isn't actually love, conditional faith isn't acutally faith either. If we believe in God's provision, then we believe in His timing as well.
So hold on to your bottle of water for as long as it takes, because God will let you share it when its time.