Let Us Eat Cake
By Catiana Nak Kheiyn
Standing in my pajamas before my closet, skirt in hand, I crumpled into paralyzed tears. All energy and vitality had drained from me, and my store of life water sat bone dry. I had nothing left to give. That's no way to start a Sunday morning.
Sniffling and attempting to compose myself, I tried to place my finger on the cause. Nothing immediately unusual pointed to what had started this sorrow rolling down my cheeks. Then realization dawned upon me: over the last several days, my every interaction with people had been an act of pouring out to others—giving, loving, counseling—all good things I am called to do. But through all this, I had not been poured into with one drop of strength. I'd given it all away.
I often use the metaphoric basin of water when referring to the energy we have to face each day and situation. We can only give so much before we must be filled again. The question is: who provides the water? Jesus said to the woman at the well, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
The Bible says that our strength comes from God. "[He] is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." (Psalm 28:7)
That's all well and good, but God is in Heaven and we're here on Earth. As the Samaritan woman asked Jesus, "Where do you get that living water?" How do I access this strength?
My assumption for many years has been that God uses people to fill me. He brings good friends who will encourage me, build me up, and help make me whole again. While it's true that He can use people in this way, it is never a sure thing. Humans are, after all, fallible and unreliable as a whole. Even though I'm a person friends come to for help, anything I can offer is merely chocolate sauce on the cheesecake. But how do we get to the good stuff?
After my breakdown, I managed to drag myself to church. Throughout the service, I prayed, interacted with God's Word, and worshipped Him. Peace filled me. Strength returned. By the time I left, I could breathe clear and deep, for water had trickled back into my basin. Yet the only person I had interacted with was Jesus.
We had a busy afternoon of investing in our children with hours of one-on-one time. My basin did not dry out until we made it to bedtime. It seemed that I'd been gifted with just the right amount of energy necessary for what needed to be done. But where had it come from? Not from friends or family; I'd been pouring out again.
My strength had come straight from the Source. No middle man was needed. Prayer, worship, and learning about Him were the paths to the fountain of life-giving water. Yes, God does use people to fill us, but that's merely decoration on the cake. God is the luscious goodness within. He's the flour, the sugar, and all that we need to make something beautiful. Everything else is just sprinkles.
To test this theory of God's provision, I went back to my morning Bible reading on Monday. Oddly enough, the verse of the day that popped up made me do a double-take. I read it over twice and could not suppress the grin on my face. All right. I get it. Sometimes it takes an extra nudge, but I get it, God. If Jesus were the type, and I kind of think He is, I can imagine Him winking at me from these words in Isaiah 40 and saying, "I told you so."
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."
Image Credit: Jake Bellucci; "Pour Into my Heart"; Creative Commons
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