Last weekend, when I wrote my blog, I was fighting depression. It had been bogging me down for a couple of weeks, and I was having trouble shaking it. Then on Saturday evening, my sister and I watched the documentary, Corrie ten Boom: A Faith Undefeated. It ended with a recording of her saying, “Look around and be distressed. Look within and be depressed. Look at Jesus and be at rest.” That sat with me for the rest of the weekend, and helped stop my downward spiral of internal reflection. As best I could, I replaced it with an upward focus on God. This week, as I read my morning devotions from my coffee-stained version of Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, I remembered the coffee spills that Tante Corrie had helped me through, and the blog I wrote about it. It’s difficult to believe that it has been four years since this lesson on perspective.
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. When I get out of bed each morning, I go straight to the kitchen where the coffee is already brewed and waiting for me, thanks to the timer on the coffee-maker. I like it brewed strong with a lot CoffeeMate and sugar added. One morning, I poured my first, large mug-full, added my cream and sugar, and leaned over to slurp a little off the top. It was perfect, but then I clumsily knocked the mug over, spilling and splattering coffee all over 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 extent of the mess I had caused. In hindsight, I should have taken a picture because it was hard for me to believe the degree of coffee splatter, even when I was staring right at it. It took almost an hour to clean it up.
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
When I wrote the original Spilled Coffee blog, I didn’t know that a few days later, I would have a similar, but less disastrous, coffee spill on my desk. The main victim was the aforementioned Spurgeon book. That first coffee spill, four years ago, could have pushed me over the edge. I wanted to cry, 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.” 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. Just a day or two earlier, I had begun reading Tramp For The Lord, which is a sequel to The Hiding Place, that begins with Corrie’s life in the prison camp, but mainly focuses on her later life.
I have written many times about keeping life in perspective, but there is perspective and 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. Before beginning Corrie’s book, I had been 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.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:1-2
The God of peace was with me on that Wednesday morning, even though cleaning up coffee caused me to miss my Bible reading and prayer time. More importantly, Corrie ten Boom shared with us that the God of peace was with her in the darkest imaginable place. Her sister Betsie, who died in the prison camp, had a way of keeping her focus, and in turn Corrie’s, on the things of the Lord. Corrie wrote about how their barracks in the prison camp became known among the other prisoners as “the crazy place, where they hope.” That hope was born of reading God’s word daily, and it lived in their hearts through all of the horrors. Spilled coffee is a silly “first-world problem,” and I like the reminder I get when I pull Spurgeon off my shelf, each morning. 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. I also must keep my depression under control by keeping my eyes on Jesus. If you or I 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 this troubled world?