I waited too long.
I had an appointment to get to and thought I had given myself enough time until I looked at the gas gauge in the car. It was too close to empty to get me where I was going so the gas station was a must stop and that would throw all my timing out the window.
I hate being late.
I am sure I developed that trait from my, on time, consider others first, father. So, with frustration growing, I pulled into the gas station and as quick as I could put the nozzle in the tank, I pressed start. I am not sure if it was the cold weather or just my growing angst but the gas seemed to be running like molasses. I noticed pulling in next to me an older gentleman from my church who promptly started to fill his truck’s gas tank. I also noticed that he was finished with his task much sooner than I. In fact, he must have noticed too because he came over to check if there was a problem with the gas pump I was using. I asked him how he was done so quickly and he said he was topping off his tank not knowing when he would be in town next to refill.
The problem discovered was not with the pump but that I had let my tank get too empty and therefore it took longer to fill.
I know I tend to do that. I remember the first car I purchased that showed me how many miles I had until empty. Somehow I took that as a challenge and too often let it get down to almost zero. One time I cut it so close I had to coast into the gas station to fill up. Today, my bad habit had cost me to be late “for a very important date” affecting not just me but the staff at the clinic.
It was on the way home from that appointment that my, on time, consider others first, Heavenly Father, brought to mind again a memory of my families infamous swimming pool.
I often recall all the great times my friends and I had in that pool. One of my favorites was when we would all walk in the same direction to get the water churning and then stop and let the current carry us along. That was best accomplished when the pool was at its fullest so that there was plenty of water to hold us up for the ride.
It was a different memory, however, that made what God was trying to tell me start to click.
I remembered that the only reason we were able to continue to enjoy that experience was because my parents (with some forced help from us) did the work to maintain that pool.It would have been nice if we could have just set it up and then enjoyed years of refreshment and fun without having to do a thing.
The fact is it doesn’t work that way.
Water evaporates so more has to be added often; this water left untreated gets nasty so Chlorine tablets had to be added to keep the bacteria from turning it into a green cesspool of stink. In addition, the filter had to be kept running and the leaves and debris needed to be skimmed off; rinse and repeat. I bet my parents more than once regretted having that pool so I hope we appreciated it enough. I may have to call my mom and thank her again.
The specific memory that Father, God used was a yearly part of that maintenance.
Every fall it was very important that we empty the water out to make sure the pool was not damaged over the winter months. Being in a cold weather climate it was necessary that the pool have very little water in order to prevent damage to the plastic liner when it froze. We would leave just enough water to keep the pool from collapsing and then vacuum the debris so it would be ready for next summer’s enjoyment. Late spring would arrive and we would determine that the weather would stay warm enough that we could again clean and refill it so it could offer it’s refreshment again after our many farm chores.
That is until the one year when all of that changed.
For reasons I can’t recall, the task of filling the pool had not been accomplished and an especially strong spring storm was brewing. As we watched the sky and weather announcements on TV, all we could do was get to the basement and pray for the safety of our family and area farms. This one was close, and strong for a storm this early in the season. As I emerged from the basement, thankful for an intact house and barn, I noticed the one thing the tornado had decided to take that day; the pool.
We had experienced strong storms before, ones that had been just as close and had damaged other parts of the farm. Why did we lose the pool this time and not those others? What made the difference?
It was because the pool was empty.
There was no water pressure holding up the sides as the wind came and blew so furiously that day.
Because it had not been filled it had been destroyed.
Both for the gas tank in my car and the swimming pool from the past, the need to be filled was imperative and filling them once was not enough. That filling had to be a continual undertaking to maintain all the benefits both those material items provided.
It was in that thought that I could finally start to see what Father, God was trying to teach me;
I not only have an essential need to be filled by all God offers but I am asked to maintain that filling for the benefits to remain.
I ask myself two questions. What is God filling me with and how do I maintain it?
When I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior I was filled with the Holy Spirit.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit Ephesians 1:13
I am asked to maintain this by being continually filled with His Spirit.
Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be continually filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:18-20
As with that pool, I can start to be filled with the debris of this world. It can quickly clutter my filter of what is right and what is wrong. To keep the filling of the Spirit maintained I need to practice asking for Him to renew it each morning and then, throughout the day, skimming the surface with worship and thanksgiving.
Not only has God filled me with the Holy Spirit but I have been filled with Christ’s love.
For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5
I am asked to maintain this love by spending time in God’s presence listening to get understanding of it’s fullness and purpose.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:18
Like a car that can only run if it has gas and the electric filter on that pool which only works when it is plugged in, I must be filled by and stay plugged into God’s manifest presence. When I finally understand how much God loves me, only then will I have the power to properly show the kind of love others will need.
God has filled me with the knowledge of His will, which is full of wisdom and understanding so I may walk worthy of Him.
…that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;… Colossians 1:9-10
I am asked to maintain this knowledge by destroying the bacteria of the enemy’s lies.
Just like in the Garden of Eden, Satan wants to pollute my mind with lies about God’s character which can turn my thinking and actions into a cesspool of stink. The Word of God is my chlorine of truth that keeps my thoughts clean when added daily.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5
God knew I have needed these reminders.
Right now in my life it feels like I am in a winter season of the soul where I have been emptied out. As I have been dealing with my chronic illness and the pain associated with it I wake up daily feeling empty; with no strength to be utilized until the next season comes. God told me that as I put my trust in Him during this season, He is faithful to the promises He has already made.
He has promised to protect me.
Protect me from the hardness that can damage my soul. He does this by filling me with enough joy to hold me up until, in the fullness of time, His purpose is revealed.
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7
He also showed me a promise He made that I will be filled again. I won’t be left to be destroyed when the storms of life come.
He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Job 8:21
So today, I declare to you:
I will not wait too long. I will top off my tank with more of God’s word. He will fill me with the joy of His presence as I spend time with Him. As I do I will be shown the way of life and how to maintain it.
You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’ Acts 2:28
I declare to you:
I will not be late in maintaining the pool of hope that He fills; for I long to be ready to walk in it, churning up a current of Christ’s love that will hold up me and also carry everyone I share it with.
I then declare this blessing for you no matter what season you are in: