Ministry Resources

Coffee Stains: Missing Pieces

Author: David Porter

Sometimes missing things get you into trouble.

Back in my teen years my uncle Donnie came by early one teeth-chattering cold morning, proposing a little hunting expedition. It was so cold that any duck, squirrel, rabbit (or chimpanzee for that matter) with any sense should have been hugging a warm fireplace in some snug corner of the woods. But optimism springs eternal in hunters so we plunged into the icy forest, around the time the sun announced a beautiful “brrr!” morning. It didn’t take long to realize that most of the intelligent animals were at the bottom of a hole somewhere else.

We came to a small creek and were puzzled about how to cross it. Finally we found a place where a log crossed the stream. The middle of the log was hidden under the water but it came back out and continued to the opposite bank. My uncle is nine years older so he bravely went first, negotiating the log carefully like a tightrope walker. Everything went well until he got to the middle. When he put his rubber-booted foot where the middle of the log should have been, he fell in! Seems that the log had lain there so long that the water had rotted out the middle portion. Uncle Donnie got a freezing bath. He ran to the car to try to get warm and I decided that it would be smart to find another way across.

Lots of things disappoint us if all the parts aren’t there, don’t they? Missing log centers, or one ingredient absent from a favorite recipe, or one puzzle piece mislaid (or swiped by your husband) from 1500-pieces, can take a lot of the fun out of life. Can you imagine how it would be if there were something ‘missing’ in God? If only one time he proved unfaithful, He would no longer be the God He is. If He acted unholy one time, He would no longer be holy. If just once His love failed, He would no longer be our loving God. And I believe our universe would then come crashing down because everything is based on God and what He is. The Bible says of the Lord Jesus,

‘For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels” “everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body,’ (Col. 1:16-18, The Message). ‘in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together),’ says the Amplified version. ‘He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power.’ (Heb. 1:3, Amplified).

If the Lord failed even once, we’d all be in big trouble. ‘David, I don’t want to disappoint you,’ you might say, ‘but I prayed about something one time and it didn’t happen. And I’m not alone. Look over there at that child who died. How about those people who loved God, who’ve lost everything in war? Or those Christians rotting in an Asian prison? Seems to me there is something missing. Things don’t always go the way I pray for them to.’

We have a tendency to put ourselves in God’s place. We tell Him when He does right and wrong. A little cheeky, don’t you think? ‘C’mon now Lord. You could do better than that. I think you ought to answer me much quicker. I’m tired of this. I think You should do differently.’ We become God’s judges! But who am I? God reveals His ways and His character in His Word, the Bible. Admittedly we don’t always understand but God will always act in accordance with His nature. He can’t do otherwise. It’s impossible for Him to lie, or to fail us when we’re trusting Him. He would have to become someone else to let us down. Sometimes events happen to us that, in the short-term, leave us perplexed, but eternity will prove that God always did what was right and He always acted for the good of those who love Him. Even if you’re in a period where you don’t understand what’s happening, put your confidence in Him. He’ll take care of you, even when you fall into the cold stream. He’s still there.

Think about it …

‘We will have as much (of God) as we can take in and pass on. Your desire determines your capacity.’ Peter Schlebos

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