There is nothing like the frustration of a blank page. Especially when I have to write something. The little cursor line just sits there mocking me with its blinking. Even now, it just blinks at me, taunting me. Daring me to push it across the page with letters and words that are strung together and make some sort of sense. When writing is as big a part of your ministry as it is for pastors, the blank page is your enemy.
In life though, getting a blank page is not always a bad thing. There is an old pop Christian song by Chris Rice called “Smellin’ Coffee.” When I get frustrated with a blank page there’re some lines in the chorus that really help me to avoid banging my head against the wall. It goes like this: “I’m smelling coffee, the birds are singing just outside, here comes your [God’s] mercy streaming with the morning light…”
When we read about the mercy of God in the bible, one of the most intriguing parts of it is that it is new every morning. It’s as if every day, every selfish action, every vile thought, and every misdeed, is being written down, filling the page. We go to sleep at night heavy with the guilt of what has been marked down for the day. And then, somehow, some way, God sneaks in with a whole lot of mercy and erases all of it so that when we wake up in the morning we have a fresh, clean page to begin the day with. The page (or the slate) has been wiped clean, and we get to start again.
In that instance, the blank page is our friend and a tremendous sign of God’s love. Whatever happened yesterday, whatever has made you doubt your worth, whatever you have done against God or another person, is gone in the morning as far as God is concerned. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences for yesterday’s actions. But it does mean that, as far as God is concerned, yesterday is gone, and today, now, is what truly matters. God doesn’t hold yesterday against us. I, for one, find that very comforting. That blank page is a wonderful gift. Work at filling it with good things, noble things, pure things – things that need not be erased by God’s mercy but celebrated for God’s glory.
Smelling the Coffee,