Monday, February 17, 2014

Up to my neck in hot water

Drinking a cup of nightly tea became a habit among the girls and I, when they were in high school, wedged even in the midst of their busy school schedules.  At some point during their evening homework, we would all somehow end up in the kitchen about the same time for a bit of refreshment.  That became our time for "nightly tea," indulging in a brief cup of hot tea and musing for a few minutes about our day.

Even after the girls all left home for college and beyond, the custom often continues over the distances, a cup of hot tea and a few minutes to ponder.

One of the tricks of making a good cup of tea is to be mindful of the water temperature.  When the tea is steeped in hot-enough water, the full flavor is extracted.

And for us, well, we often find ourselves in hot water -- difficult situations that call for creative responses.  Sometimes I just need to stop for just a minute or two in order to respond instead of instantly react.  Those instant reactions are most often accompanied by instant regrets.  A cup of tea, so to speak, slows me down enough to think through what I need to do in word and deed, that which is gracious and kind, and as theologian Jonathan Edwards resolved in 1722, "to shun anything that is not of Christlike character."

"Hot water" may be my difficult situation, but what changes everything is what I am steeping in it.  What am I choosing to steep?  Bitter herbs or joy?   On what am I dwelling?  What "flavor" do I seek in this, yes, even in this?

Yesterday as I made a cup of hot tea, I selected one that a sweet friend had given to me.  As the bag steeped in the steaming water, its full flavor infusing every drop, I noticed what the tag on the teabag said, "Joy."

If that is what I want in my life, that is what I need to infuse in my heart, soul and mind.  This is not the artificial sweetening of happy, positive thoughts, but the reality of what only God can do.  Joy is not a feeling, but a strength that comes from God, that which is not dependent on circumstances at all.

What am I choosing to steep?  Am I complaining about "hot water?"  Or letting God redeem it?  Tuck a passage of Scripture in your heart today, and let God's Word "steep" all day long, infusing, enhancing, and changing how you see everything and everyone.  Abide in Him.

...that My joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be full.

                         John 15.11

O taste and see that the LORD is good!

                         Psalm 34.8

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And my personal favorite, "Go out in joy and be led forth in peace." That is my favorite tea, too, by the way. Sandy