As some of you might know, I have been trying to go off of coffee again…. But this time I have switched to decaf for the time being, with my plan being to drop that in upcoming days. Anyways, my sister and I went to a conference this past weekend. There I had an interesting interchange over the coffee pots….
One evening while I was searching over the signs on the big coolers full of the hot brown beverage on which America runs, I saw one without a label in the exact same spot where the cooler marked “Decaf Coffee” had been previously in the day. Putting two and two together, I supposed that it probably was the decaffeinated kind, even if the label was currently missing. As I was thinking this, I noticed a dignified gentleman behind me in the line holding his empty cup close. He seemed to be looking for something and not finding it.
“Do you see any decaf here?” he asked me, apparently noticing that my cup was also empty.
“Not any that is marked,” I replied. “But this is the cooler that was decaf earlier in the day. It just doesn’t have a tag on it now.”
He hesitated, wavering, but apparently was convinced as I tipped the lever and poured myself a cup. Smiling, he said, “You’ll take it as decaf on faith!”
As something about that statement somehow didn’t ring quite true to me, it was my turn to hesitate as he stepped forward to the pot himself.
“It depends on what you mean by faith,” I replied with a laugh. As I turned away to escape the line, I saw just a glimpse of a slightly puzzled expression on his face. With that, I set to wondering to myself what it was that struck me as almost amiss in his comment.
It wasn’t long before I realized what it was that had kept me from simply affirming the man’s witty and well-intentioned comment. The word “faith” is used so loosely in our culture that we also think of it loosely. I don’t have faith in God and Christ in the same way that I had faith that that pot contained decaffeinated coffee. I have greater assurance of the reality of the truth revealed by the word of God because I have greater evidences and the inward convictions wrought by the Holy Spirit. I believe the Word of God–and this is faith. There was no word to believe–and hence, to have faith in–concerning the state of the coffee in that cooler.
And just one final thought: that was the best-tasting cup of coffee that I had that day–because I was wrong. It was not decaf. I was so wired the rest of that night that I simply could not sleep. So much for my “leap of faith”! I felt bad that the gentleman also had regular coffee when he was looking for decaf. But, by then, I had already unwittingly led him astray and there was nothing I could do to remedy my error….
“But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true. Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever.” ~Psalm 119:151-152