A Little Water Bottle and Big Faith

I love it when I read a true story and afterwards it leaves me spellbound in wonder for weeks to follow. I read such a narrative the other day, one I must share.

A medical doctor had been a missionary in an African town on the equator where the days were hot and the nights treacherously cold. One evening while assisting a woman in giving birth, she passed away, leaving behind a premature infant and a crying two-year-old, Maria. His staff scurried to keep the baby alive in the chilly drafts. Having no electricity, their only means of survival was placing the newborn in a woolen padded box with a hot water bottle. Rubber degrades easily in tropical climates, and that night their only water bottle burst. 

The following day the doctor visited the local orphanage as part of his weekly routine. During prayer time, he asked the boys and girls to pray for the failing baby and the little girl. Much to his surprise, ten-year-old Ruthie blurted out, “Please, God, send us a water bottle today and a baby doll for Marie.” The doctor gasped over the audacity of the prayer. After all, he’d lived there four years and never received a package from home. He thought, “God, I know nothing is impossible with you, but there are reasonable limits.”

Halfway through that afternoon he received a call while teaching in the nurses’ training school. A twenty-two-pound parcel had arrived on the veranda. Almost afraid to hope, he took the package to the orphanage for the children to open. Excitement mounted as they discovered knitted bandages for the leprosy patients and boxes of raisins and grapes for batches of buns that weekend. Then, as he put his hand in the bottom of the box…could it be? Yes! A brand-new rubber hot water bottle! Ruthie gasped, “If God sent the bottle, there’s a doll in there, too!” And sure enough, they pulled out a beautifully dressed doll.

Friend, here’s the part of that story that causes me to ponder God’s ways. The parcel had been in route for five whole months. Packed by the doctor’s former Sunday School class, they had been prompted to send the package—even a water bottle—to the equator. I can’t help but think of God’s promise in Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call, I will answer.” In other words, even before there is a need, God will anticipate desires, see needs, and execute provisions.

I wonder what solutions to upcoming prayers God has already answered and we’re not even aware of the need yet? I wonder what secret future cravings God sees in our hearts concerning our children, finances, and relationships that haven’t yet appeared on our radar screens? Could it be that God really does grant provisions before the need? Could it be that God’s hot water bottle has already been “mailed”? Could it be that God is more ready to provide than we are to believe? 

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 

—Philippians 4:19 (ESV)

About Pam Kanaly  

Aloha! I’m Pam Kanaly, President and co-founder of Arise Ministries. But actually, I think Arise found me wanting to bless single moms years ago. Ministry was never on my mind as a kid. All I wanted to be was a hula dancer. So Mother enrolled me in the tiny tots’ class. Guess God knew I’d have two grandbabies born in Hawaii. I love the great outdoors. You might even find me spending time with my husband grizzly bear watching or camping. In fact, it was on a turkey hunt that God gave me the name Arise Ministries in 2002. I suppose it’s a good thing that I majored in Grammar in college since I love to write words of encouragement to single moms.