Healing Line

Healing Line

Coffee with God

by Mike Evans
Jan/Feb/Mar 2012

Yes, you read it right! I enjoy having my coffee with God and He enjoys just being with me. We both look forward to this time together. Kind of like friends would do. Interesting thought, isn’t it? My journey with God for much of my life was centered around reading a devotional, offering a quick prayer for my day and then some prayer for others. I was certain this kept God happy and kept me in good standing with Him. What more could He want? I was reading the Bible, tithing, attending church and praying.

We are a busy people, harried and hurried through each day. The disciplines of silence, solitude and stillness are contrary to how we live. We think that we don’t have time for these or even that they are a waste of time. Francis Frangipane wrote, “He who would find God will find time.” Don’t we always find time for the things that are important to us?

We are also an impatient people who don’t like to wait. I was on a flight home from Houston with a quick stopover in Phoenix before another short hop to my home airport in Bakersfield, California. The plane was late so I assumed since I was catching the same airline in Phoenix to my home they would wait a short time for me. This airline never runs on time so it was very normal to be late. I was only six minutes late arriving at my mid–stop, so I bolt off the plane running to catch my next flight. As I go skidding up to the counter this sweet flight attendant says, “Sorry, we knew you were coming but we couldn’t hold the plane so you will have to wait three hours for the next flight.” I almost lost it.

Fortunately, instead of yelling at her, I left the counter and began walking around the terminal fuming and mumbling, “Your stupid airline is always late. You couldn’t hold the plane six minutes when you knew I was coming? This is a one hour flight and now I have to wait three hours for your next flight which means I won’t be home for another four hours.” Finally I decided to sit down, put on my headphones and listen to some music. The song that started playing was Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel. “When you’re weary feeling small, when tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all, I’m on your side when times get rough and friends just can’t be found….” As I listened to these words, God said, “Michael, look at yourself, you are acting like a spoiled child. Get over it!” I started laughing at myself because I was acting as if this delay was the biggest deal in the world. Dutch Sheets says “We don’t wait well. We’re into microwaving; God on the other hand is usually into marinating.”

Some years back I discovered that God wants to hang out with me. The best way for me to do this is early in the morning. I always get up to have coffee and take a few minutes to wake up. It was quite easy to utilize this time to spend with God. I knew the importance of having a devotional time and I was occasionally good about having my quiet time with God, but I never seriously thought about just hanging out with Him. When I do this I have no agenda other than to be there with Him. For me this is the best way to hear from God.

People will often ask me, “How do you hear from God?” First of all I need to know that it is God I am hearing. This requires that I be familiar enough with His voice that I recognize His voice when He speaks. God does not speak to me in an audible voice but normally He places thoughts in my mind. Sometimes it’s a word or a simple sentence. Occasionally it will be a picture. Because I have cultivated a relationship with Him, in these times of intimacy, I recognize His voice.

My wife Jane and I have been married almost 42 years. We have a deep relationship as a result of our time together. Because of this I know her voice. When I call her on the phone I don’t have to remind her that I am her husband Mike. She knows my voice. In the same way, I know God’s voice because I have made a conscious effort to spend time with Him doing nothing but just being with Him. Jane and I can be in the same room and we don’t have to talk, we just enjoy being with one another. That’s the type of relationship God wants with us.

Do you have a friend that you enjoy being with? Why not have that same relationship with God? He wants to have that deep friendship with you. If I want to become someone’s friend I must spend time with them. Some of the time we do an activity, but much of the time we just enjoy being together.

When we have our devotional time or our special quiet time with God usually we have an agenda. We want to hear from Him or we want an answer, some direction or affirmation. What if you had a friend and you knew that every time he came to spend time with you, he wanted something from you. No matter what reason he gave for being there, you knew there was always some other purpose. How would that make you feel? Isn’t that what we often do to God? Did you ever think that occasionally He would like to be with us when we don’t want something from Him? Think about this, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just hang out with your friend knowing that there was no agenda other than that they just liked being with you?

I believe it’s difficult for us to do this because many of us have been conditioned by our culture to stay busy. If we aren’t doing something we are wasting time. Wasting time is not looked upon favorably. Even when we are with people we love we are busy doing or thinking about something else. Consider this, how would you feel as a parent if during a typical seven–day week your grown child came to your house to spend an hour with you? This was your special time together. During the hour they talked with you while reading the newspaper, watching television or texting their friends. At the end of the hour they jumped up, gave you a hug, said, “See you next week,” and headed out the door.

If that’s the only time you get with them the entire week would you be immensely pleased and thankful that they had spent time with you? Would you consider that quality time? I suspect that while you would be happy to see them and grateful for what little time they did give you, wouldn’t you also be a little saddened? There was so much you wanted to share with them but there just wasn’t enough time. Isn’t that typical of how many of us spend our time with God?

If you have lost that sense of intimate connection with God or perhaps have never had it, you can choose now to change all that. But first you must come to accept that merely being with God has immense value. Theologian Edward Schillebeeckx wrote, “In a revealed religion, silence with God has value in itself and for its own sake, just because God is God. Failure to recognize the value of merely being with God, as the beloved, without doing anything is to gouge the heart out of Christianity.” To gouge the heart out…That’s stunning!

Part of moving to this place with God is to love ourselves. If we fear God we cannot accept love from God. If we cannot accept love from God, we cannot love ourselves or others. If we cannot accept ourselves in both our strengths and weaknesses, we cannot accept that we are of value to God. To grasp the reality of being “God’s beloved” is totally beyond our reach. Someone said, “The sorrow of God lies in our fear of Him, our fear of life, and our fear of ourselves.”

What are the benefits? A peace begins to settle over your whole being. You start to grasp how special you are to Him. The haste and driven pace at which most of us live begins to lessen. Your dependence for approval from man becomes less and less of an issue. The desire for the spotlight fades. You want to be alone because you start to hunger for and enjoy the solitude and silence. You start to see, smell and hear the world around you in a new way. You begin to see others with new eyes. Furthermore, there is an appreciation for every moment of every day. The fears attendant with the future become smaller. There is a fresh passion for God and the things of God. There’s a new level of peace in your spirit. You become more at peace with yourself. You begin to realize that God’s approval does not depend on what you do or don’t do. I discovered that the benefits of hanging out with God far outweigh what I thought was consuming so much of my valuable time. That thinking, in and of itself is absurd. We are, after all, with the God of the universe!

He wants to be a friend. While I hunger to have an intimate relationship with God as my Abba (Daddy in Aramaic), I also need to see Him as friend, one with whom I can be myself and know that He understands and accepts me in my humanness. When I understand that He accepts me, then I can begin to grasp my uniqueness and destiny as a child of eternity.

As you enter this New Year find ways to have some time for coffee with God. It’s not a difficult thing to do. You will discover that He is proud of you, wants to be your friend and you will experience what it means to be His beloved.

Consider this: The God who created the universe, who heals the sick, who knows you need food and shelter to survive, against whom all military might and power is but a puff of dust; beside whose power a swirling, raging river is but a trickle in the sand, is the God who wants to spend time with you.

Mike Evans Mike Evans is the founder of Wholeness Ministries in Bakersfield, CA and is also in the National Advisory Board of CHM. Jan/Feb/Mar 2012