After dinner in a restaurant in Guatemala the waiter poured coffee into everyone’s cup except mine. Then he left the room. I felt left out. He served coffee to my eight friends but seemed to ignore me intentionally. I wondered if I had done something to offend him. If anyone needed coffee it was me because I love coffee- I need coffee- and this waiter walks off without looking in my direction. It was hard not to take it personally. Strange how many hurts seem to re-surface in a small offence. When he returned, I asked him to fill my cup and he said, “ Señor, I thought you did not want coffee. Everyone had their coffee cup with the face-up –la boca hacia arriba -, but you had your cup with the face-down- la boca hacia abajo.”
So often we think God should be moved by our need, but it should be obvious to us by now that being needy does not move God. We try to build a case with God how much we need and deserve something, but nothing happens. We feel hurt and wonder why God is dealing out His blessings on other people but leaves us high and dry. We take unanswered prayers personally and wonder what God has against us. Jesus, however, teaches that God is not moved by need but by faith. And faith is having the cup of the heart face up.
How often we enter into a prayer time or into a worship service with the cup of our heart face down. We have no expectation that God will speak or touch us. We only have our secret arguments why God should bless us, but our hearts are turned upside down. God is pouring out His Spirit in abundance and we have our cups upturned and upset. Sometimes our cup has been upside down for so long that it is stuck to the saucer.
In the Bible, we see Jesus does not make a case study of each person. He does not scan the person to see how much he deserves or needs the miracle. He just says things like, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” “All things are possible for those who believe.” “According your faith, be it done to you”. We could argue with Him. We could stomp off mad. We could get a petition against Him. Or we could turn the cup over. Expectation takes the top off our limited reality and brings God into the action. Expectation opens the heavens above our little life. God really wants to get involved in our mess but He wants our expectation to play a part in it.
I could have complained to my friends about the waiter. I could have quietly resented him. I could have stormed out of the restaurant, but I turned my cup over. I got my coffee. What would happen if I prayed with my heart face-up?
– Andrew McMillan