Groundhogs Making Coffee

I grew up certain that groundhogs were as addicted to coffee as my mother.

My father drove me to school every morning. This was partly because he is a chronic morning person (they really do exist!), and also because my bus route carried river and holler kids… A group well versed in the art of “adult” vocabulary, more than willing to teach any naïve first grader. Let’s just say the Bus 928 Morning Crew could eat The Breakfast Club for lunch.

The roads in Appalachia are often in disrepair, far too narrow, and are regularly travelled by heavy, oversized trucks from coalfields and the local industries. On early morning drives though the mountains and foothills, the steady occurrence of dense fog pockets only amplify the previously stated driving hazards. Ask any hillbilly school-kid, there are few gifts from Mother Nature like a good, heavy fog that unexpectedly delays school for safety.

As we would wind in and out of the hills in Dad’s old truck, he would point out the patches of fog, and it was as if we were driving in the clouds.   He always assured me that the groundhogs were busy making coffee, and the rising mist was the steam from their brewing pots. I would watch the fog so purposefully, trying to catch a glimpse of the elusive groundhogs. Dense as it was in the hollers and valleys, it disappeared as quickly as it came and, well, no groundhogs.

Charles Dickens spent practically the entire first chapter of his Bleak House depicting the London fog. Comparably to readers in 1853, we don’t have the patience or interest to read such in-depth descriptions today. The precious moments I get in the evening to read now are often interrupted by a text message, a waking baby, dirty dishes, the unbelievable amount of soiled laundry tots and husbands can create, a college sports Rivalry Week, or just plain exhaustion. In a world with practically infinite distractions, we require constant action for the written word to keep our attention.

We desire the same action in our walk with Jesus. We go through spiritually-heightened times when life is trying and we pray and fast more regularly, or holidays where we intentionally focus our attention on our relationship with Christ. Then life does what it always seems to do and returns to normal, and it’s just a bunch of Tuesdays. We are left in an emotional lull, craving the peaks of spirituality, when in reality our relationship is both religious and spiritual… law and love.

When God seems far away, it is us who have become distant. God has always been, and God will always be (Revelation 1:8). He’s the one true steady in a life full of change and fluctuation. The religion part of the relationship (the continued church attendance, prayer and fasting with intention, serving the community, and daily Bible study) is how we come to enjoy the spiritual part: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). Our “relationship status” with the Creator isn’t as wavering as our emotions or as elusive as the mountain fog. God is always there, knowing our hearts and loving us unconditionally all the same (Psalm 73:26).

He knows we are but human (He created us!). He knows that our emotions and fleshly desires are our motivators. Yet, He requires our constant love and devotion, and with Him (Matthew 19:25), we may overcome the highs and lows and serve Him faithfully.

Your loyalty is like the morning mist. I desire loyalty…. Hosea 6:4&6

Referenced Verses:

  • “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 HCSB
  • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22 NASB
  • My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26 NIV
  • But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:25 HCSB

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