Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hopeful Tea

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ~Romans 15:13

My friend, Hannah, had a dreamy expression on her face as she daintly sipped hot tea from her cup. It was an expression that is hard to find in most people, and yet one that came quite naturally to her... an expression that is quietly serene and yet boldly confident, seemingly naive and yet full of wisdom, deeply compassionate and yet bubbling over with delight. A Jesus sort of look... I thought, and then became a little self-conscious about starting into her eyes. I looked down at my own cup and took a sip, wondering if people ever see that expression on my face.

We talked about our jobs and the people we are investing in, books we love and Scripture we're studying, road trips and summer plans. We talked about how we love to do things that don't really have much financial security, but it doesn't bother us because we just ... love to do them. "People are always asking me what I'm gonna do with my life, and I say, 'I'm doing it!' I'm doing what God's given me to do right now, and that's all I need right now." She smiled and took another sip, and I knew...

Peace and Joy. That's what was in her expression! It was found there in her eyes and smile as a reflection of the work God's done in her heart. Peace and joy are things He develops through testing and teaching... we cannot receive them by simply memorizing a verse or hearing a testimony. Who can experience God's peace unless they have felt his presence and strength in the lonely and weak times? Who can live with the joy of the Lord unless they have turned to him in sorrow and pain and found comfort and healing?

I took another sip as well, as I pondered this revelation. I have experienced those things... In my life God has proven himself time and time again as faithful and good and trustworthy. And so I do trust in him. That trust doesn't stand alone, though. Because I trust him, I can live with hope for the future. He's never failed me or forgotten me so far, so what I have nothing to fear - he will continue to be with me, and his plans for me will continue to be good. Does that mean I have that same joy and peace? Surely it does! I feel it in my heart. But does it show on my face? Can people see the hope that I have? Does it overflow from me?

I asked her to refill my teacup, and as the chocolatey-earthly liquid poured from the pot to my cup, a prayer rose up in my heart: "Oh Lord, just as this cup is filled with a sweet refreshing tea, let my heart be so filled up with your joy and peace that it overflows to offer hope to others."

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ~ Romans 15:13

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