Coffee Friends

Acting on the Spirit’s simplest suggestions

I was stepping out of a patient’s room when a young lady came out of the room next door and stopped me, “Miss, can I ask you a question?” She seemed very apologetic as she tugged at her tight black scarf. “Can I have some coffee?” Obviously, she wasn’t the one who was sick. She was sitting with her husband, still, a very young man, who had just had major cardiac surgery. “He really would like some coffee.”

I love being a nurse. I love to meet people’s needs. But I pray that I always answer with something that will truly be a help. Every day I ask the Lord to inspire me and give me ideas of how to minister in ways people don’t expect!

So as I looked at the young girl standing in front of me, I prayed to God He would help me fulfill this divine appointment.

“Well,” I responded, looking her in the eyes as kindly as I could, “if it depends on me, I would just tell you it’s not good for his health! It’s a burden on his heart, his healing, all his organs.” She stood quietly listening, so I continued. “Physicians will tell you, anyone will tell you, it’s OK. But it has a real effect on your body and he shouldn’t have any.”

We chatted a little.  She was gracious in spite of my answer. So I decided to get to know her better.

“By the way, what work do you do?

“Oh, I’m studying to be a doctor.”

“Oh, my word,” I exclaimed without thinking to hide my surprise. I chuckled. “You should know better, dear.”

She grinned sheepishly. “I do know better.  But what can I do? For myself, I take just one cup and it seems OK. I know I really shouldn’t. But my husband craves sugar and coffee and chocolate and. . . ! I can’t help him.”

Realizing how open she was, an idea came to my mind. I bent down and looked into her young face, “I have something better than coffee!” I enjoyed describing how a tasty hot drink can be made from grains and not contain the harmful substances that are in the coffee bean. I shared how I had overcome my own addiction and how I now use barley coffee.  

Her mouth dropped open. “Barley?” It was a real question.

“Oh, I will share some of my special coffee with you!” But I sensed I could share more than coffee. “You know, though, when we face difficult things like addiction, we need more than our own strength to overcome. We can actually pray to God; He is the one who will help us!”  

We talked more, she shared more. I could tell she really wanted to help her husband. “I’m so glad I asked you for coffee!” she giggled.

Two days later I found her sitting with her husband again. “I’ve got a gift for you!” I handed her a small bag with a jar of barley coffee and some cashews and walnuts. Her husband sat propped in the bed as I shared how I was able to overcome my addictions and live healthier. “Only by the power of God have I been able to overcome!” I assured him.