Except, when I went to retrieve the steaming cup, I realized that something had gone wrong. Instead of finding the oversized, hand painted (by me!) mug filled with freshly brewed coffee, it was only half full. A few suspicious specks floated along the top, revealing that grounds had somehow snuck into the beverage. Upon further investigation, I discovered the source of the problem: I had forgotten to put in the filter! Here I was thinking I was so ahead of schedule, but instead, I spent fifteen less than agreeable minutes cleaning hot, wet coffee grounds out of every nook and cranny of the coffee maker. Instead of surprising my husband with my forethought, I had to apologize for the delay, dump out the spoiled cup - which turned out to have a thick layer of sludge at the bottom - and start over. So much for being on top of things.
As I reflected on the minor, but annoying, incident, I saw some similarities to my spiritual life. Sometimes I forget to look closely, and I think that things are just humming along smoothly. I assume that I am bearing fruit for God and He is filling my cup to overflowing. Often, it isn't until telltale specks of sin rise to the surface that I realize there is a problem. When I finally allow God to search my heart, the truth is revealed: neglecting to spend regular time with Him leaves me with a thick layer of spiritual sludge. Instead of overflowing with love, joy, goodness, and grace, I am depleted, and sinful thoughts and attitudes begin to taint the living water that God wants to flow through me. Weak and bitter, I have no refreshment to offer to others. I am as useful to God's kingdom as a ruined cup of would-be coffee was to my tired husband on Monday morning.
How thankful am I that the God of grace has promised to renew His mercies every morning! Repentance makes me clean. Time in the Word and prayer renews my spirit and puts my filter in place. Instead of dripping half-full and tainted with grounds, I am filled to overflowing with the goodness - indeed, the greatness! - of God.
Tomorrow morning, I will be sure to put the filter in place before attempting to bless my husband with a welcome cup of coffee. And more importantly, I resolve to rise early enough to spend time with my Lord. In seeking Him, I know I will find the hope and refreshment I need to face the day. The best part of waking up is not, in fact, the particular brand of beverage in my cup, but rather knowing that my merciful God is filling my cup with His great, compassionate, and contagious love.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.