We reach into the empty barrel believing we have nothing to give; only to find an abundant flow.
I was at kindy pick up for my 3-year-old son when I saw a mum who I had prayed for previously at a play date. She had asked why I was fasting. I explained Australia was in revival and a mighty move of God was afoot across our wonderful nation. As we spoke, she shared some of her private and very painful history, after which I prayed for her. While I prayed, she felt electricity running up her arms, and she cried, feeling His presence course through her body. She had encountered a good and loving God.
On this day, she looked tired. I asked her about this, and the tears flowed. I gently placed my hand on her shoulder and prayed, releasing peace and rest. She reported her sleep was ok, but she was not feeling refreshed from her sleep. I prayed again, asking that one hour of sleep would be as four. I hugged her, nearly crying myself, and said to call if she wanted prayer again.
With said 3-year-old in tow, I planned to head home. Instead, I ‘knew’ I needed to go to a local shopping district. It was close to Christmas, so shopping was not what I felt like doing. However, hearing the nudge, I headed to the store I felt compelled to visit.
Uncertain why I was there, I looked. Feeling exhausted, I did not believe I had anything to give.
My barrel was empty.
Wandering about, I feigned interest. I noticed a woman with a brace on her wrist.
‘Person found,’ I thought.
I approached her and asked about the brace.
She had torn tendons in her wrist and thumb, so I offered to pray. She agreed and as I prayed she felt tingles, which continued long after I finished and she completed her shopping.
I turned towards God once more, knowing I had not completed the task. I felt tired, so I argued a little, but ultimately decided I would stay.
I could not shake the feeling I had not found who or what I was there for.
A woman had watched me closely as I prayed. I was aware of her, but I had ignored the feeling. I felt her watching me again and wondered if she was stalking me through the store.
Crossing her path, I smiled and turned to pass politely, but she suddenly stepped forward to speak.
Earnestly she said she felt stressed. She explained the stress was because she was hosting her son’s wedding reception at her home, followed closely by Christmas.
I agreed that would be stressful.
‘Thank you,’ she said.
The exchange puzzled me. Perhaps she needed to be seen.
I wandered on with my son, but there she was again…
I was sure she was intentionally placing herself in my path.
She engaged me in further conversation.
Tired, I did not want to chat. Small talk is a gift, a gift I do not posses. I have to work at it.
I stopped the sour grapes and simply threw caution to the wind. I offered to pray.
Excited, she readily agreed. She said she saw me on the other side of the store, praying for the other woman.
‘Ah, she had been watching me,’ I thought, ‘and she wanted prayer.’
Her name was Joy, so I prayed for Joy. I prayed for Joy to be released into her destiny; for joy (the Spirit of Joy) to come upon and within her; for Joy to receive ‘joy’; and for Joy to be Joy and all that entailed. In fact, it was the season for JOY!
I also prayed for the other circumstances she had shared.
As I prayed, I looked at her.
‘You can feel that, can’t you?’
She nodded, close to tears.
When I finished, she stared at me and asked if I knew some Christians on her street in a nearby suburb.
‘Oh no, here we go,’ I thought, but then she told me their names.
They were my pastors!
She said I was just like them – she told me she had been watching them.
‘… and now she had been watching me too,’ I thought wryly.
It was clear in that moment God was on her case. It was not a coincidence I was in that store. I was there for no apparent reason other than a hunch. My pastors’ witness impacted her. She was the one God had set His heart upon and sent me. She had a hunger to encounter the God my pastors knew; the God I knew; the God she wanted to know too- the one we all called ‘Lord,’ the one we all called Jesus.
I was there for her!
I explained I had not known why I had come to the shop. Yet, it was now apparent to me I had come for her.
It was apparent that God was on her case.
I wished her well and finished up in the shop.
My barrel was empty today-but God.
Life is busy at Christmas time. Children are excited, their behaviour can challenge. People make demands; others can be unkind. We can feel our barrel is empty and we have nothing to give.
However, God’s barrel is never empty. Despite me and my circumstances, as I reached into my empty barrel, God came through and touched three women – all in the space of an hour. Each woman needed a touch of God; all for different reasons.
As long as I will stop for the one, regardless of how I feel, regardless of me, my God will move to touch a hurting world.
Today I saw His arm long enough to embrace others through me; His grace sufficient for my needs to be met and His desires fulfilled. My barrel may feel dry, but His barrel is always full – His power is ever present.
Since this day I have discovered people are watching. I know if they watch for long enough I will disappoint them because I am mere human; but if they will see through me to Him… that will not disappoint.
I have prayed for many who have yearned for a touch from God. There have been many such occasions. In my daughter’s school, a young teacher cried when I offered to pray. She explained she had been waiting, hoping for prayer. This shocked me, because I always felt so awkward in offering. But here was a woman desperate for the moment God saw her heart’s cry. Through her tears she said she thought she was going to miss out; I assured her God saw and loved her- she would never miss out.
We may think we are at the bottom of our barrel, there is nothing more to give. But, in the empty barrel, there is always more.
Wine will flow regardless of me because…