“Great peace have they that love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
On Friday night our Church held it’s monthly Family Fun Night: snacks, board games and a short devotion. As always, it was a lot of fun, and I think everyone got something out of it. We made friends, shared food, and generally enjoyed ourselves enormously.
Psalm 119:165 (above) was the text of the devotion, and boy did that hit home. Lately, I’ve been more and more aware of just how negative I can be. I think of myself as a generally optimistic, upbeat person. Certainly, I have an eternal hope that lends and air of peace to every trial. But even so, I find myself afraid, stressed, short-tempered, angry and even festeringly bitter. It’s true that a few hours of sleep usually sorts me out, but it doesn’t change the fact that my reactions can be very selfish and sinful when the heat is turned up.
Our visiting pastor explained that if we’re immersed in God’s word each day, we too can have great peace, and nothing will offend us. In other words, the little things won’t matter so much. We won’t get annoyed by the shortcomings of others or ourselves. We won’t blame people for simply being what they are: fallen human beings. Just like us.
He used an illustration that really spoke to me. I’ll paraphrase it a little: if you fill a cup with hot, bitter black coffee, and you trip over a bump carrying that coffee, disaster ensues. The coffee falls out of the cup very easily. You’re likely to burn yourself and others. There are bound to be stains all over the place – some of which you may not find for years. Some of which you may never find at all. Even though coffee is delicious and sometimes just what you need to get you through the day, we all know it’s not exactly a health drink. It’s not good for you. And the hot, bitter liquid can do serious damage when it gets spread around.
On the other hand, what if you filled a cup with honey, instead? Honey’s pretty stable. It’s hard to spill (especially if it’s the super-good-for-you raw kind). But even if life gets frantic and you hit a bump and spill the honey, what’s going to come out of your cup? Sweet, delicious honey! It’s good for your skin. It’s good for furniture surfaces. If you leave it and don’t clean it up, you may have ants for a short while, but they just clean up the mess and get on their way. Very few people mind having a little life-giving honey spilt on them. No one likes having scaliding hot, bitter coffee all over them.
When your life gets bumpy and your cup runs over (with blessings or challenges), does what’s inside you easily spill over the edge? And what comes spilling out of your cup? Dark, bitter, scalding vitriol? Or gentle, healing sweetness?
I pray God’s gace changes what’s dark and bitter inside me to cups of honey.