Water for the soul

The Lord loves the lost, the weary, and the thirsty. In Christ crucified, he offers the relief we all crave. 

Lincoln A. Albrecht 

For many, the end of August is an enchanting time. Like a fireworks grand finale, summer often saves the best for last. Parents and children prize these last summer days—the campfires, the fireflies, and long weekends at the lake—because they know the end is coming. Summer is a season to be savored. 

But in the Sonoran Desert, summer is a season to survive. People from Phoenix know the drill. Keep in the shade. Drink plenty of water. Stay where it’s cool. Find places with free air-conditioning.  

Having a rough day 

All that can drive a mission planter stir crazy. At least, that’s how I was feeling late last August. So I packed up a backpack full of flyers and hit the streets shortly after sun-up. I wanted to get a couple hundred flyers hung before the temperature reached 100 degrees. 

Near the end of my route, a man stormed up to me with a scowl on his face. He had a handful of my flyers and a mouthful of unkind words. He shoved the flyers into my chest. I tried to muster up a smile, but I’m sure it didn’t fool him. 

The Lord knows there will be days like this. 

Later that afternoon, a message popped up on our church’s Facebook page. I was excited . . . until I read it. Someone had taken great offense to our flyer: “Rude!!! Even though my family is looking for a church, this will ensure that I won’t be coming. Clearly there is no respect.”In my haste to hang as many flyers as possible, I had missed her sign about not wanting religious pamphlets. I sent her an apology message. 

The Lord knows there will be days like this. 

Finding relief 

The next day, there was another Facebook message. Part of me didn’t want to click it at all. Ignorance can be a kind of temporary bliss . . . but I clicked it anyway. 

This time, it was someone new, and the message was something entirely different: “I found one of your flyers on my front step. . . . I looked up your website and started listening to your podcast this morning. I feel like it’s water to my thirsty, parched soul.” 

The Lord knows there will be days like this. 

He prepared this moment. For her. For me. For the advancement of his kingdom. “The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade” (Psalm 121:5). 

So many people living in the growing outskirts of Phoenix are just trying to survive. They hope and dream of better days. They’re looking for relief, but they don’t know where to find it. They have no idea of what they’re looking for . . . no idea how lost they really are. 

But the Lord knows there are people like this. 

His Word proclaims what no human mind can conceive. He loves the lost, the weary, and the thirsty. God loves survival-mode people so much that he sent his Son to save them. In Christ crucified, God offers the relief we all crave. 

There will be days filled with people who don’t want to hear the message of hope and comfort. But there will also be days when maybe even a single thirsty soul is ready to drink of the living water. So we keep at it.  

The Lord knows there will be days like these. He watches over our coming and going. He is our shade. That’s something special. That’s something to savor. Especially during summertime in the Sonoran Desert. 

Lincoln Albrecht is pastor at River of Life, a home mission in Goodyear, Arizona.

Read more stories from WELS Missions at wels.net/missions. 


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Author: Lincoln A. Albrecht
Volume 105, Number 8
Issue: August 2018

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