The Spilled Coffee
By Germaine Copeland
It has been my habit for more than thirty years to arise for a time of meditation and prayer with my Heavenly Father while the world around me is sleeping. Acknowledging the presence of God, I sit down with my Bible, Prayers That Avail Much® prayer book, notebook, pens and a cup of coffee. Usually, I enjoy the solitude with a quiet heart, undisturbed by family issues or the cares of the ministry. Occasionally, unwelcome thoughts invade my peace of mind.
The past weekend had been a time of celebration, and we returned home from the prayer conference elated and encouraged. The hospitality and generosity of the pastor and his church were gratifying; we had gone to be a blessing and we were blessed.
Soon after returning home feelings of euphoria changed to weariness. With each passing day responsibilities loomed, and time became my enemy. Negative feelings came crashing in robbing me of my peace and quiet confidence, and the satisfaction of a job well done was short-lived.
Appointments, cut-off dates for writing projects, my dad’s necessary move to a nursing home were drawing nearer, and other overwhelming tasks demanded my time. Time was running so fast I couldn’t keep up. Unshed tears were ready to surface at any moment. Trying to restart my inner surge of strength, I went for a walk only to have my breathing become labored, and my chest almost burst with pain.
Prayer requests were coming in — dire, painful family situations. People needing employment, a place to live, harassed, single mothers trying to balance children and jobs. Individuals crying out for freedom from habits. An unjust law suit. Relationships in transition – on and on. Sons and daughters in rebellion. The storm clouds were gathering.
Four days later I drove to our lake house, and the next morning I just wanted to go back to bed. A still, small voice seemed to whisper, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands leads to….” Leads to what, I silently shouted. Poverty? All right so I won’t go back to bed. Pulling the coffee maker to me, I scooped ground coffee into its receptacle, poured water into the reservoir thinking that one or two cups would jump start my mind and body, and bring me out of the gloomies.
While the coffee was making, I walked outside to inhale the fresh air and enjoy the beauty of the lake. Feeling as lethargic as before I went back inside, noticed that the liquid in the coffeepot looked just like colored water. I poured it down the sink.
In a few minutes another pot was gurgling, and after a time I reached for a cup, and began pouring. Coffee not only splashed into my cup, but also cascaded down the side of the pot on the blue tiled counter, and the dark pools of liquid mocked me. Overcoming the urge to throw the glass coffee pot into the sink, I thought, “God, what a dumb coffeepot.”
Furiously wiping the counter, I asked, “God, what is wrong with me?” He is faithful to help us through situations both large and small. In the quiet stillness of the early morning hour I embraced the presence of my Father-God. Gently, like a mother teaching her child, without criticizing or scolding me, He assured me that He was present to give me wisdom. This was a character-building moment. The coffeepot was not my problem.
Time was not my problem. We choose how to use the time He has given us. My problem was impatience, and there was an obvious solution – slow down and get in rhythm with the Lover of my soul. Casting all my cares on Him, I repented of my irritability and negative attitude, received my forgiveness, and asked for patience and renewed strength – divine energy.
God helps us overcome wrong attitudes, and exposes wrong thinking. He is present to help us erase the look of irritability from our faces, and change the tone of our voices from harshness to tenderness. At the end of my meditation I saw myself standing in another kitchen and heard the voice of my 2½ year old granddaughter, “Nonna, don’t cry, be happy.”
Is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete (James 1:2-4 LB).
“Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for the Holy Spirit Who helps me develop and exercise patience, a fruit of the spirit. The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. I resist the temptation to be provoked in my spirit, remembering that anger resides in the lap of fools. I purpose to live wisely with a due sense of responsibility, as one who knows the meaning and purpose of life. I will make the best use of my time, despite all the difficulties of these days. I ask to be strengthened from Your glorious power, so that I can so all things through Christ who gives me strength. Amen. (Excerpts from Prayers That Avail Much® Special Business Edition)
Germaine Copeland is the author of the best selling book series, Prayers That Avail Much. She has written scriptural prayers for the family. Read your Bible, pray and attend church where you can soak up the love and faith of God. You will receive emotional healing, experience spiritual growth and become more intimately acquainted with your Heavenly Father, and your relationships will grow stronger.