Have you ever heard the saying? “You are in Hot Water Now”.. or refer to your situation as being “in hot water?”
Truth is, we live in hot water every day. At home, at work, even at church? (ssshhh) Hot water situations… conflicts, hurts, disappointments, trials and tribulations. It’s a part of our day-to-day living. James 1:2-4 speaks of this hot water referring to them as “Trials and Tribulations” – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let Perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Whether we like it or not.. we are going to have bad things happen to us. We are going to have “trials of many kinds” and yes, It is difficult to “glory” in tribulations.
Hot water can be dangerous.. You can be burned by hot water.. scalded and scarred. Life is like this. It produces its amount of scarring. Searing us and leaving lifelong scars. We all have them. We can remember exactly how they got there.. whether it be from whom, what or when..and most of the time we remember what we learned from being in that hot water. The Bible says that we are “Persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed.” II Corinthians 4:9
Hot water can also be pretty useful! If used for a specific purpose: cleaning, disinfecting.. adding it to something else for cooking things we love such as homemade soup, pasta or a delicious cup of hot chocolate! Hot water can bring out many different flavors.. And we all know how much a good ol hot shower is enjoyed, especially after enduring a time without electricity during one of our hurricanes.
Sometimes we are placed into hot situations to draw out the undesirable flavors in our lives. This is not the action of a cruel God, He is anything but cruel. But the action of a just God who loves us and wants to give us a more abundant life. Being in hot water.. We don’t get the choice of whether or not we are in it.. But we do have choices of how we react to being in it. My prayer is that we see the hot water experiences of life as opportunities for us to change.. Persevere in the way God would have us to do so. We certainly do not always understand this concept. Isaiah 55:8,9 has always made perfect sense to me…when nothing else did. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Although everyone knows my love for coffee, what you may not know is that my first love was “tea” I often have a cup of hot tea before bed time. I grew up watching my granny drink hot tea. After a long, busy day, she would sit and enjoy a cup of hot tea. I was too little for hot tea, but that didn’t stop her from sneaking some to me on occasion. This lesson is about hot water.. and about the lesson I learned from tea… preferably the tea bag itself, and how it relates to us.
The Tea Bag.. whether you prefer it hot or cold? It is still the same tea bag. It doesn’t change. It’s just a tea bag. They come in different shapes, many flavors. Much like us as people.. all different, but it still remains just a tea bag.. just as we will remain “just people” with the packaging being a little different. Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
If you take a good look at the tea bag, they are basically the same. I just happened to use one that was Kosher from Israel. This was my “special” tea from a dear friend. Just a little pouch that contains the grounded tea, a string, and a tab to hold on to it. What is the part that counts the most? It is what is inside the tea bag.. It represents us.. our inner most parts.. the people who God created in his likeness. The person that we really are. We all started out the same.. Born as sinners, redeemed by His son, Jesus.. and saved by Grace.
The amazing thing about the tea bag is how it works! In order for it to become anything useful, you have to add what? WATER! if you add cold water, it’s going to be weak.. It requires Hot Water. That’s life, Hot Water.. and we have to live in it, function in it. and learn to survive in spite of it.
The second thing that I see is that the tea bag itself has to be porous in order for the hot water to flow thru and fulfill it’s purpose. When we build walls in our lives, shut people out, and harden our hearts towards God and others, we are not going to get the full effect of being porous in letting God’s light flow thru us.. all.. while we are in the hot water!
So we are in hot water.. what is going to happen? If we are using cold or lukewarm water, then not much is going to happen.. We may see a little bit of result, but it’s not likely to go thru many changes. It’s only when we add the hot water.. that the real flavor comes out.. noticeable changes start to take place! What we are on the inside, comes brewing to the outside!
It is when we are in Hot Water that we start to show changes, and have choices. Changes in our circumstances, changes in our attitudes, and changes that occur deep inside of our hearts. The innermost parts of us. How we decided to deal with these changes when we reach our “boiling point” determines the product or person that we become-it determines our flavor!
We celebrate my mother’s birthday every year by having a tea party in her honor. It seems fitting because it was something she enjoyed doing with her granddaughter. It seems even more so, when I look at the things I have learned from that “hot water” time in my life. We were not given the choice for her to be sick and leave us early, but there were so many things that I learned about myself. My innermost parts. My aroma..went through some changes.
I would love to forever remain a calming Chamomile flavor.. but the truth is sometimes I am like the sour lemon in tea.. What is the aroma that we give off to others?
Have you ever let the tea bag boil too long? Oh wow.. it gets bitter. Like the tea that has been boiled in the hot water too long, sometimes we give up and chose to stay in the middle of our hot water of life way too long. We suffer from being in the water too long.. just as those around us do. I love the quote that says.. People will seldom remember the words you said to them, but the will ALWAYs remember the way you made them feel! Powerful words! God always provides for us, a comforter and gives us tools to survive the hot water of life. But just as any mechanic knows.. the tools have to be picked up and used, they are not going to do you any good lying in the toolbox. God provides this through His word, through people in our lives that offer encouragement. Our cheerleaders in this world of hot water! Regardless of my circumstances, I want to produce a pleasant aroma for God and those around me. When I am in hot water? I want those around me to still see that I am real, and I am clinging to His promises. Remember, it’s what’s inside you that determines your flavor. The Hot Water of life is going to come, that’s a given..Determine your flavor! Here are a few of my favorite scriptures to sweeten your tea! Enjoy.
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
One of my favorite lyrics from the old hymn “God Leads Us Along” that says… Some through the waters, some through the flood, some through the fire, but ALL through the blood. Some through great sorrow, But God gives a song..in the night season, and all the day long.
What is your aroma in hot water? My desire is to be one that comforts and soothes, not weak or bitter. Classic Earl Grey or soothing Chamomile!