The following article is written by one of the very special people in my life; my daughter-in-law, Kim. She and Tim and their three recently moved from Guadalajara to the Mexico City area to begin a new work.
Priming the Pump---
We moved into this quirky place two months ago. Among its funnies is a pump that has to be primed most days before it can send water from the underground cistern up to our roof, to fall through the pipes in the house. This is a common thing in Mexico but for whatever reason (you’d have some guesses if you saw the set-up) air gets in this line and you have to pour water into the vertical pipe by the pump to bring the bubbles up and out the top. It is one of those activities that has frustrated me when I’ve run out of water with a sink full of dishes or (worse) in the shower! It stands in the way-- taking my time and energy--just another step between myself and accomplishment of the daily (even urgent) tasks. But, as He does with all things, God has been using it for His good purposes.
Priming the pump provides both the time for (forced) reflection and the demonstration of why I need this contemplative space on a regular basis. All the good that could come from this water source is inaccessible until I allow the emptiness to be brought out from above. The phrasing in Spanish for the process is “purging” the pump—which is how God brought these fun thoughts about. Without the “purging” or removal of my empty-self practices, I am not able to bring forth the good things God has placed within me. It is not something the pump can do for itself; it would finally burn up in the effort.
Consider it all joy, dear family, when you encounter various trials—but this isn’t the testing of my faith—or is it? –-Because the testing of your faith produces endurance. Are all these minor set-backs (no oven, crazy water and electric problems, phone? internet? yes, no, yes, no? rabid dogs, horse apples and flies under the clothes line, puppy poop, people with sick poop, cinder block and concrete) meant to serve some greater purpose in me? Are You trying to get the empty space out of the way so that You can bring the good up and put it to use? But come on, ALL joy?
And now for the darker difficulties we have had lately. Harassment from dirty cops. James detained and truly behind bars overnight. Car impounded. I don’t see You behind those things. Those are deeds of darkness. Least I forget: Gethsemane, agony, Calvary—but that’s the thing, I do forget. You want us prepared to truly shine like stars holding out the word of LIFE before a crooked and perverse generation. I have to say that all this preparation puts the fear in me. At the same time, I do want be ready…for whatever You know is coming. And I hear You say “Right, that is my main plan. This is the miracle that will get people’s attention. It is Me, working the good in you—to will and to act according to My good purpose.” How could I say we don’t want any?
I only just realized today Paul’s fear as he wrote Philippians: He did not know what was coming—life or death. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Phil 1:20) Be with me Lord I cannot live without You, times of trial, lashing seas, the works. Paul also points to the prayers of his friends and the help of the Spirit of Jesus. Emphatic yes! Thank You for those things.
Can we consider it pure joy for the sake of the greater…considering Christ, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, even as he despised the shame? I had missed that, He despised the shame! But even then His joy was not altered by it. Help us. Take out what is in the way of Your fountain of life, that living water that is supposed to flow from within us. Purge us, with our joy intact, so that we don’t burn up when the going gets tough.