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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

What Makes Life Sweet?

“…and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Psalm 81:16 (ESV)

This is one of those obscure verses in the Psalms that I imagine most people read and then move on from, never quite understanding the fullness and depth of what they’ve just encountered. At least that was the case for me for many years until I stumbled across a delightful work by Warren Wiersbe called “The Bumps Are What You Climb On.” This short devotional-style book looks into many different overlooked Scriptures on hope and pulls the reader deeper into the hidden treasures they hold.

Psalm 81:16 was a verse that grabbed me and intertwined itself into my heart in a way that surprised me. I distinctly remember thinking, “I love what this has taught me, but how will I practically apply what I’ve learned with others?” Well, sometimes I believe God gives us verses like this to hide in our hearts for just the right moment.

I was blessed to take my first mission trip with Living Water International in February 2016. They are an amazing organization that digs freshwater wells in underdeveloped countries in the name of Jesus. While I’ve done many other mission trips, some in the states and a few internationally, this was my first up-close and personal experience with this organization that my church knows, loves, and supports so well. 

I can honestly say that I was not disappointed! Living Water blew me away with how well they cared for our team. But more than that, the quality of the people on the ground, translating, drilling, and guiding us each day was awe-inspiring. These people LOVE our King, and it’s reflected at every level of the organization.

Our weeklong trip was to Guatemala. We, as a team, were to go into El Milagro, Masagua to drill a well for thecommunity, teach proper hygiene at the local school, andthen again teach hygiene, well care and Bible stories to the communityat large. A tall order, but we were confident we were up forthe challenge. 

Our team comprised of 8 staffmembers (from my previous job) and 4 of our spouses. So again, I will reiterate, we were confident. Thankfully, in God’s great wisdom and providence, Heallowed all human efforts to fail us in many areas so that He alone could get the glory for the accomplishments that would come later in the week.

The drilling was hard work and dirty, but what’s a little dirt in service to Jesus, right? If hard work was the extent of our challenges we would have been fine, but there were unforeseen obstacles at every turn. The ground was tough and our drill would not chew through the rock below the surface, the motor on our drill broke, the electrical component then went out on the drill as well as a hydraulic leak of some sort. Problems kept coming and we were frustrated. In addition to the drill issues, the community was large which required the team to share several teaching lessons per day to make sure everyone heard what we came to share. The overwhelming heavy question came, “How do we connect with these people when there are so many and an English/Spanish language barrier for most of us?”

We were all in over our heads, but we knew what we needed to do.

Throughout the course of the first few days, we had each individually been praying, but there came a point when we knew that we needed to humble ourselves before the Lord as a group and be bolder, asking for what humanly we couldn’t do. So we reached out to our church prayer team for help, we texted and emailed praying friends and family back home, and as a group, we boldly sought the power of our King – the only One who could fix our machine, bust through the rock, and help us to make relationship connections.


As the week ended, we were all in awe of how Our Lord, the Great I Am, provided for this community.

Where human efforts failed, divine sovereignty overcame. 

The drill broke through the rock and we installed a deep, safe, clean well for the people. The team loved and connected with the people in a way that surprised even the community’s mayor who commented on how much the people felt genuinely loved by our team. And above all God was glorified.

I can honestly say that going into the week no one on our team had a desire to take glory for themselves on this project, and I believe God knew this. However, I think (for me at least) he wanted to remind me of what I challenge so many others to do on a daily basis – trust. 

Each and every week I tell people how faithful God is, how powerful prayer is, and how hope is a good thing. And I mean every word of it! For good measure though, I believe My King just wanted me to put it into practice that week so it would continue to be real, practical, heart knowledge and not just words I encourage other to do.

The day our team busted through the rock and water flowed was such a sweet, holy, joyful day, and on the long bus ride back to where we were staying, God brought to mind the words from Psalm 81:16 which had been embedded in my heart so long ago.

"...and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."

You see honey is one of the sweetest things found in nature and rock one of the hardest. Only God is capable of bring something sweet from the hard things we endure and he did indeed bring sweetness to us that week from all of our hard work. I would argue that our team found the week to be even sweeter because of the hardships we endured.

Only my Savior is that faithful and trustworthy to have brought us honey (or water) from the rock!

For Your Reflection…

It’s easy to get drawn into bitterness and resentment when life doesn’t go the way we think it should or when hardship hits. Stop and reflect. What are some of the sweet things God has given you through some of the hardest situations in life?


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