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I had recently received a new Bible—the newly published Lutheran Study Bible. I was so excited to have this new Bible because it was a version that I didn’t yet have and because there was such a wealth of resources and notes included in this book. I also received a journal to use along with it and had all sorts of plans as to how I was going to format my quiet time with this wonderful Bible.
What I didn’t realize was that this book would be the source of a new lesson from God, without even opening it up.
The next evening, I was relaxing with a delicious cup of hot chocolate in our living room. I reached to set my cup down on the end table, and a split second later, I heard an awful splash. My hot chocolate was flying out of the cup onto the floor. Only, it wasn’t just the floor. It was the side of the relatively new sofa, the curtains, the rug, the wall and, my books that were on the floor between the couch and end table. And on the top of that pile were my new Bible and accompanying journal and prayer books, which were now dripping with chocolate.
I have a weakness for really lambasting myself when I make a mistake—especially one so seemingly careless. I flew off the couch and in a feat of strength heaved it out of the way to evaluate the damage I had caused by my own carelessness. Scolding myself and even crying as I discovered that the cocoa had splattered several feet in multiple directions, I worked to clean up the mess.
I got the chocolate off the couch, put the curtains into the washer, and mopped the wood floor. But my new Bible! The cover and sides and bottom of the pages were covered in hot chocolate. My prayer books were several years old but were also a mess.
As I dried off the books, I thought of how the mess reminded me of what a mess I really am and how much I need my Savior, about whom this chocolate soaked Bible tells me.
I was tired and irritated with myself. But once the curtains were back up, the couch was dry with no evidence of a stain, and I had a fresh cup of hot chocolate to sooth my frazzled self, I reflected about how God teaches us in every circumstance, if we will only listen to him and trust that he always works for the good of those who love him.
Even though I confessed my foul temper and negative emotions, I still had lingering remorse about the damaged books. But the next day as I was sweeping the floor and muttering to myself about “what a dingbat I was,” the Lord helped me realize that I now have a chocolate covered Bible and prayer books! What a delightful way to look at the mess I made and how it is covered in God’s grace—just like me.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7 says, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” I will likely sin again by beating myself up when I don’t measure up to my own standards. But oh, how thankful I am that God will redirect me, forgive me, shine through me, and teach me to rejoice in him always—especially with chocolate covered prayer books!
Jennifer Schwedler lives in La Crosse, Wis., and is a member at First Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Is something troubling you? Are you overwhelmed? Stressed out? Take a time out and see what God's Word has to say about it.
Start each week day with a short Bible reading, devotion, and prayer. Monday through Friday a devotion is provided by WELS and WhatAboutJesus.com.