The other morning I was drinking my coffee and it just tasted weird. I kept smelling it, sipping a bit, trying to figure out what the oddness was.
My daughter offered to try it. She’s almost-eleven and almost-grown-up-anyway (or so she tells me) and it’s becoming clear that she could make a career of trying to finagle sips of coffee out of me. It’s my own fault, of course, because sometimes I let her, so she’s got to check, just in case.
I held the cup toward her and she calmly drank the largest sip she figured she’d get away with. “Tastes fine!” she exclaimed.
I pulled it back and smelled it again. Hm. It still seemed strange to me.
And just like that, my mind started spinning. If my coffee was fine, but tasting strange to me, maybe, possibly, my body had healed and I had conceived?
After all, the last time a friend stopped being able to drink coffee, it was because the little one in her had interrupted her coffee-enjoying taste buds and made it seem off to her.
So there I was, sitting at the breakfast table with my husband-of-almost-nine-years, and the children-God-miraculously-brought-home, and a wild crazy hope that slid over my heart and mind. Because I know there are people still praying that this broken body of mine will heal—and I know there are people believing that it’s coming, even if it takes ten years or fifteen years or twenty years. God is still capable of releasing whatever is holding it captive.
And sometimes I’m right there with them, believing, and sometimes I’m wading through lack-of-faith and fear-of-hope, but always I am asking God to help my unbelief and keep my heart centered on Him and His goodness.
I lifted my coffee again. Yep, still odd. My husband caught my eye, held his hand out for the cup. He took a sip. “Um, yeah. Something is strange,” he said. “Mine is fine though. What creamer did you use?”
I pointed at the counter where the half & half jug still sat. He shrugged at me. “Is it bad? I used milk.”
A few minutes later I was standing over the sink, dumping the half & half and feeling a little foolish. Why am I so silly? Why am I so quick to let my mind go there?
And just before I went into a full-blown pity party about my gullible-heart that is always begging to be deceived into thinking there might be a chance, I happened to look up.
I have this plant in the window sill. It’s just one of those grocery-store greenery ones. I probably got it on sale one day for like 1.99, and brought it home on the wild-whim that maybe I could keep a houseplant alive.
Remembering to water houseplants is not exactly my forte.
But soon after it arrived home, I stuck it in the bathroom next to the sink. It looked pretty there.
Turns out I can remember to water plants that live near sinks.
It’s been a couple years now, we’ve moved three times, and still it lives on. Old leaves have died, been pulled off, new ones have come. The roots are still dug down deep, thick green leaves are still pressing upward.
It’s been almost nine years since my husband and I married. Almost thirteen since I was told that conceiving and carrying a child would be difficult-at-best.
And some of that time I have spent wandering and dying in the desert. I have ached, and bled, and cried, and screamed in frustration. I have lived parched, and starved, and withered.
But much of the time I have spent drinking deep, gaining my sustenance from the Bread of Life, Who willingly feeds my soul with His grace and goodness.
The difference, of course, has to do with where I’m choosing to live.
I can live close to Jesus, to the Living Water Himself, and remember to turn to Him for relief when life drains my hope away. I can keep my mind in His Word (bread) and my heart clinging to His Spirit (water). And if I do so, I will live.
It’s not that parts of me won’t die. They will. Old is cast away, new comes. But in Him there will always be new hope that springs from roots dug down deep and fed and watered.
I made myself a new cup of coffee that morning. It tasted fine.
I sat at the table with my husband-of-almost-nine-years (Oh, thank you, Father, for this man who has loved me so unconditionally through all my mess), and my son-of-almost-one-year (Thank you, Jesus, for this son-of-my-heart who brings such joy and grease and dirt and laughter into my life), and my daughter-of-almost-three-years (Oh, can I ever thank you enough for this witty, beautiful, delightful girl?), and it was good.
It was God. Present. Right there with me.
Maybe, hopefully, someday I will go to drink my coffee and be unable to finish it because my body has finally healed and new life is growing—but in the meantime? I want to keep living near the Water. Praising the One-Who-Redeems, even when the redemption isn’t quite what I had pictured. Even when the redemption brings with it more brokenness, like these glorious children who carry their own stories of sorrow. Even when it means I have wild-vines of hope that grow rapidly for a moment and then wither and die when reality hits.
I still want to stay right here, because here there is life.
I think the enemy loves to convince our hearts that hope is foolish. That we’re just silly to believe. To wonder if God just did the impossible. In fact, he’d love to talk us into not believing in God at all.
But hope is not foolish, friends.
Hope shows that we’re alive.
And when our hope is centered on Jesus, we will be strengthened.
Isaiah 40 says, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
These verses of promise follow Isaiah’s reminder of who God is. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”
He gets it. He gets us.
And when our hope slips from Him to earthly things (even good things) all we need for our strength to be renewed is to turn our gaze back to the Living Water. Because haven’t you heard? Don’t you know? He’s everlasting. Star-breathing. Tireless. The Abba-Father who understands every single desperate longing in our hearts.
Let’s live by the water, friends. Let’s hope and breathe and live.