I love coffee. Even if I weren’t a caffeine addict, I would still love coffee. I make my coffee for myself at home every day. My coffeemaker has a timer on it, so that when I get out of bed each morning, I go straight to the kitchen where the coffee is already brewed and waiting for me. I brew it strong and add CoffeeMate and sugar so that it is exactly how I like it.
Wednesday morning, I poured my first of the two large mugs-full that I drink daily. I fixed it up with a sugar cube and just the right amount of my favorite CoffeeMate flavor combination and leaned over to slurp a little off the top. It was perfect, until I proceeded to clumsily knock the mug over, spilling and splattering coffee all over that part of the kitchen. After righting the mug, and thereby saving a quarter of the contents, I stood there a step back from the spreading puddle and stared dumbfounded at the mess I had caused. In hindsight, I should have taken a picture because it was hard for me to believe the extent of coffee splatter, even when I was staring right at it. I spent the majority of the next hour cleaning it up.
Surveying my spilled coffee mess and realizing that I had lost one third of my precious daily allowance would usually be enough to push me over the edge. This is especially true since I had just woken up and hadn’t had any coffee yet! I wanted to cry, I really did. But all I could think about was what Corrie Ten Boom had written about her time in the Nazi concentration camp, living “in the shadow of the crematorium.” A day or two before, I had begun reading her book, Tramp For The Lord (#grandpasbookshelf) which is a sequel to The Hiding Place.* How could I cry over spilled coffee when I had been reading her description of the inhumanity she suffered, and of having everything stripped from her except her faith and a Bible.
I have written before about keeping life in perspective, but there is perspective and then there is perspective. As I mopped up the coffee and tried to wipe away the resulting stickiness, I couldn’t help but think to myself how blessed I am with the life I lead. The mere fact that there is hot coffee every morning to be enjoyed in a safe and comfortable home, is a blessing. It was a rotten way to start my day on Wednesday, but I couldn’t get upset about it. It even turned out to be a great day.
I told you that last week, I was binging on Christian romantic fiction. I can’t help but wonder what my response would have been to the coffee fiasco if I had been in the middle of one of those books, instead. It is a reminder to me that what I put into my mind makes a big difference in my attitude.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9
The God of peace was with me on Wednesday morning, even though I missed my Bible reading and prayer time. More importantly, Corrie Ten Boom shared the message that the God of peace was with her in the darkest imaginable place. Her sister Betsie, who died in that camp, had a way of keeping her focus, and in turn Corrie’s, on the things of the Lord. Corrie wrote about how in that prison camp, their barracks became known among the other prisoners as “the crazy place, where they hope.” The hope was born of reading and “thinking about” God’s word, even in the midst of the horrors.
Spilled coffee is a silly “first-world problem.” My prayer is that I can be a woman who faces real adversity the way the Ten Boom family did. Part of preparing for that is keeping the little problems of life in their proper place. If we crumble under the weight of mere inconveniences, how will we possibly be able to stand strong when God calls us to shine His light in the darkness of a troubled world?