Not long ago one evening I put on the coffee and in my eagerness for that first cup decided to put my cup under the drip basket, instead of the pot. I've mastered the skill of switching the pot with the cup without spilling a drop. Meanwhile I had this article to prepare, so I dashed up the stairs of the house we lived in to check some details in a reference book. That soon led me back down to my desk computer to explore further the subject I was now immersed in.
Well, fortunately sprinkling is not immersion. I soon heard this dripping sound, but it wasn't quite like the noise the coffeemaker creates. Uh-oh! Yes, it was coffee all right, but it was dripping off the now-flooded counter and pooling nicely on the floor. Alas, it was another lesson in the incompatibility of multi-tasking and instant gratification.
Wait just a minute, though! Sometimes the distraction of one thing can bring on a helpful forgetfulness. Frequently we have so much pain in our lives that we are overcome with bitterness and despair.
The tragedies of Joseph's betraying brothers and years of servitude in prison were vanquished quickly in his freedom and new family. He “called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: 'For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father's house.'” [Genesis 41:51]. God would go on to do even more to help him forget the miserable years.
When David was distressed about his surging enemies, he understood God's awareness of his dilemma. “Put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?” Then he knew he could put aside his anxieties saying, “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” [Psalm 56:8b,11].
However, like my sloppy coffee, much of our suffering is self-inflicted. We spread the seed of sin and then we're left to deal with the natural reaping of what we've sown. Add to that the awareness of God's displeasure, let alone the feelings of others we may have hurt, and we bury ourselves beneath the decaying leaves of anguish. “Now what do I do?”
All the good intentions I ever had don't seem to make up for the myriad memories of the fool I've made of myself. There is an answer. “I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies” [Psalm 119:59]. The testimony tells us, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” [Acts 2:38] and “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” [1 John 1:9].
God understands the power that remorse can have on those who are trying to make things right. He told the Corinthian church how to deal with a penitent child of His, “you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow” [2 Cor. 2:7]. When we seek to make things right according to God's testimonies, He will help us forget the guilt of our errors. “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” [Psalm 30:5].
I love that contrast. His favor is for life! There's no need to drown in your sorrows. Wake up and smell the coffee . . . that leads to the consolation we get from turning to and obeying God's testimonies!
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