To say I have a passion for coffee would be an understatement. Whether one likes to drink coffee or not, the aroma of a freshly brewed cup is unmistakable.
The other day, my youngest daughter asked to taste a cup of coffee I had just made and I thought, “What a wonderful thing this is, taking after her dad in a passion for coffee.” So I carefully offered her my hand-brewed heaven in a mug as she picked it up and curiously took a sip. I watched as she put the cup back on the counter. The look on her face was priceless. It was a combination of disgust, with a mix of yuck and gross mixed in. Running to the garbage, she spit out her drink and declared, “Eww Dad, it tastes like dirt!” Is she really my daughter?
I enjoy visiting local, hole in the wall coffee shops that take the time to handcraft each cup with artful grace. I have discovered several great shops in the St. Louis, Columbia, Springfield, and even right here in Rolla. Is it bad when a coffee shop in St. Louis, some 100 miles away, knows you on a first name basis? It is a sad, but true fact. I have recently been experimenting with brewing beans by roasters from around the country. Each bag of beans contains within it a unique body of flavors. Each bean is snowflake of intricate design and flavor: the freshness, chocolaty smokiness, spicy brightness, acidity, smooth finish, all of which depending upon the bean’s region of origin, roasting process, water quality and temps, and brew method used.
The coffee bean can teach us a lot about life.
To get at the good stuff of the bean you have to crush it, smash it, grind it, and pour piping hot and bubbly, boiling water onto its freshly shattered shell of flesh. Not a surface is left untouched. The pulverized beans then set for a period of time to soak in hot, steamy water before it has finished the steeping process. Somehow, someway a divine encounter occurs in these few short moments that stand between the dance of being crushed, immersed, and soaked, with something new emerging in the end: Glorious coffee. It is a gift from God.
One can certainly gulp a cup of coffee down, but why not savor the flavors of the beans that produced your cup of joe (or tea leaves for you tea drinkers). Honestly, it is not about the coffee, but something more. The coffee bean reflects what often happens in our lives.
We too have felt the crush of a tense job or demanding boss, the smash of rough news from the doctor, or the grind of a poorly chosen word as a piping hot moment poured itself over us as a slow drip of molasses. One moment we are fine, the next we find ourselves immersed in a dance of being crushed, immersed, and soaked. There is good news, the Bible promises that though we face troubles of many kinds here on earth, these moments are but a temporary thing as the Lord is preparing (or dare I say “brewing”?) something new through the storm. Take comfort in the words of Jesus:
[Jesus said,] “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
If you are in such a moment, the most comforting thing I can say to is God is with you. We are never promised in scripture an easy life, in fact, it is often the opposite. What we are promised is His loving and grace-filled presence with us in each breath of life. Paul encourages:
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
Hang in there friend, in this life we may be pressed on every side, perplexed, hunted or knocked down. Though the crushing hurts, it shows that God’s not done with us yet, as He can work through the most crushing experience His good. On the cross itself, our God as revealed through Christ, felt the crushing blow of whips on His back and spit on brow, He felt the smashing taunts and jeers from the crowds and the rejection of His Heavenly Father, He felt the grinding nails pierce His hands and feet, as He freely poured out His life for ours, all to create something new. His death, His sacrifice, His coming to life means a fresh start by the forgiving grace of our merciful Savior. Through this pivotal point in history, God’s hand was and is brewing up the most delicious drink of forgiveness life has tasted. It is a meal He invites us to eat and drink each time we gather at the altar, a meal of bread and wine, Body and Blood, given and sacrificed for you.
So, the next time you grab a cup of coffee or tea, stop to savor the bean. This tiny part of God’s creation is a constant reminder that God’s not done with us yet as the best—His best—is yet to come! Take heart and drink up, reflecting on Jesus’ words, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34) Each day, each hour, each minute we lay in God’s capable hands. Through the challenges we face He is with us in our yesterday, today, and tomorrow brewing us into a freshly poured life.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Fixed on Jesus!