What spills out when life bumps into you? A lesson-learned and contemplated as I sit in the hospital with my daughter.
Life pivots in a heartbeat.
I’m sitting in the hospital
watching my daughter
wait for surgery.
Yesterday morning I was helping my younger daughter ship out orders for our newest advent collection. In between doing that, I took her sister to get checked for stomach pain. The doctor simply wanted to “rule out” something more serious and sent us for tests.
We assumed the tests would be negative and went back home to wait. While we waited, I took my entrepreneur-in-training to the post office to mail our packages and posted this photo on Instagram:
It was all sunshine.
And then the storm clouds rolled in.
A few hours later, we were in the emergency room with my older daughter. The doctor had called with the test results and didn’t want us to wait. The ER team and surgeon weren’t certain what was wrong, as the tests didn’t match the symptoms or progression.
I normally don’t do well with uncertainty.
Or watching my children in pain.
Or not being in control.
But this time was different.
Peace in the middle of the storm.
Whispers of “Thank you, Jesus.”
Even thankfulness for the pain … this pain that told us something was wrong and landed us in a place where healing could take place.
I share because I know what was different this time.
You see, I just finished weeks at the feet of Jesus while writing my newest book, “Behold.”
Days earlier, I had written to my email subscribers saying, “I’m so full” when I told them the book was now available.
The weeks spent in God’s Word had left me deeper in awe of his promise-keeping nature.
My eyes have been fixated on Jesus.
Worship has been on my lips.
When cups overflow
Have you heard the analogy of the cup spilling over? It goes like this:
I ask, “If I’m holding a cup full of coffee and someone bumps into me, what happens?”
You answer, “Coffee spills out.”
You are right.
I then ask, “Why did coffee spill out?”
You’re most likely to answer, “Because you were bumped.”
You are wrong.
The reason coffee spilled out is because coffee was in the cup.
If lemonade, tea, or any other liquid had been in that cup, that’s what would have spilled out.
The bumping is simply the catalyst to reveal what was tucked inside.
It’s a favorite teaching story. And I’ve heard it three times in the last two months. Frankly, I was getting ready to roll my eyes if I heard another preacher invoke a spilled cup.
And then last night happened.
And my heart was bumped.
And what came out?
Not the normal caffeinated version of anxiety, stress, and worry.
Peace flowed. Lips worshipped.
Eyes stayed fixed on the promise-keeping Savior who was sovereign over our little storm.
I want to savor this lesson and remember it. Let it live inside me for the rest of my life. But I know me … so I wrote it down both for me to remember and to share with you.
Make no mistake. I take no credit.
This was all God.
Nothing but the Spirit.
Jesus. Only Jesus.
Here’s the truth worth savoring:
A heart full of Jesus
doesn’t get bruised
when it gets bumped.
Friend, I don’t know what’s in your cup right now but if you’re any version of normal, there’s a lot of cinnamon-spiced holiday stress. That’s the nature of the season.
Not only are the demands overwhelming, the ending of a year brings on reflection that points out all the ways this year didn’t measure up to expectations.
You’re going to be in close spaces with family members who don’t agree and old arguments unresolved.
And in some cases, you’re missing loved ones who are no longer here.
It’s a recipe for a big ‘ole batch of hot-tempered, stressed-heart, cold-soul eggnog. If you get bumped, guess what’s going to come out.
Can I invite you to fill your cup with something different?
Let it effervesce with Jesus — his words, his promises, his nature.
Focus your eyes on the Savior who loved you enough to leave heaven and endure earth so that you could one day leave earth and enjoy heaven.
Because you ARE going to get bumped this holiday season.
Count on it.
Let what overflows reflect a heart full of Jesus.
Not only will it steady your peace
and keep you from sinking under the holidays,
it will testify to a Jesus who is
STILL the answer
and always the reason
for any season
and through every storm.
If you need a simple plan, start with John 14-17 — Jesus’ final words to his disciples before going to the cross.
If you need quick worship music, my “6 Cries of the Heart” microsite has six different segmented YouTube playlists.
Combat feelings of discouragement and brokenness with survival-grade faith.