by Karen DeArmond Gardner
How can I describe the glorious smell of coffee in the morning? The scent wafts through the air filling my senses as it brews. Coffee brings me pleasure and comfort whether it’s a cold morning curled up in my blanket or a Texas summer day. Nothing says pleasure like that first sip of coffee from my favorite mug.
I like my coffee rich and black. No foo-foo coffee for me.
I’ll saunter down the coffee isle in my grocery store just to breathe in the scent of coffee. The fragrance of coffee is pure bliss. Some days I can’t wait to go to bed just so I can get up and drink my coffee in the quiet solitude of early morning.
Coffee is also relational. The rise of coffee shops all over the world reveal how we love to sit and chat over coffee. Many a heart has been bared in those moments. Laughter, secrets, tears, love and fights, all shared over a cup of coffee.
A few years ago, as I contemplated what to give up for our church-wide fast, I asked God what He wanted me to give up for three weeks. I suggested, sweets, television, ice cream, food—but only one word dropped into my mind… coffee.
Surely You don’t mean coffee? I love my coffee. I need my coffee.
I bargained, I whined, yet He didn’t budge. Either I would be obedient or I wouldn’t. It’s not like I love coffee above God. Or do I? I was about to find out.
I had a slight headache at day three and the brain fog that had been a problem for several months, was now horrible. I was a bit grumpy. Okay, maybe more than just a bit. I was frustrated with God, wondering what His point was in this. I didn’t feel closer to Him.
My daughter wasn’t thrilled when I bit her head off during a conversation. “You should have warned me you were off coffee,” she said.
I begged God to clear my mind. Nothing. Why did You take my one comfort and pleasure away?
Because it brings you pleasure and comfort.
Could it be He wanted to be my pleasure and comfort? Grabbing my Bible, I scanned the concordance and noticed most of the verses relating to pleasure were about sin and wrong doing, with the exception for Psalm 16:11 (ESV):
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Now He had my attention. Clarity cleared my foggy brain. I saw the greater purpose of finding my pleasure in Him. Did I look forward to my time with Him as much as I enjoyed my coffee? Did I stop and breathe in His presence? Did I anticipate going to bed so I could wake up to share our morning together? Point taken.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3 (ESV)
Coffee isn’t my comfort. He is.
By time you read this, my fast will be over. I’ll be back to sipping coffee, appreciating what I’ve taken for granted. But I’ll also bask in His presence through my cloudy mind and realize the fast wasn’t about coffee. It was an object lesson on who my source is and where I find my comfort.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV
About the author: Karen DeArmond Gardner is a 30-year survivor of domestic violence. She has spent 15 years on her own healing journey and nearly that long helping others find freedom, restoration, and redemption.
Karen is a facilitator in Freedom Ministry/Sozo and directs the Women’s Ministry at Catch the Fire DFW Church. She also facilitates Mending the Soul, a group that leads women through the trauma of their past into healing and wholeness. She serves on the Board of Directors for Arukah House, a transitional home for women coming out of sex trafficking and abuse.
Karen blogs at Crack the Silence and can be found at her Crack the Silence Facebook page. She continues to be a helpful contact and resource for abused women in her church and community.
Join the conversation: What’s your favorite pleasure? Has God asked you to give it up for a season? How did it change your relationship with Him?