I wrote this devotional a few years ago but I found it applicable to life these days.
This past Sunday/Monday we had a major thunder/wind storm in Edmonton. Then yesterday I had to head downtown for an appointment. As I was walking along, I noticed a broken umbrella jutting out of a concrete garbage can, with another one strewn beside it on the sidewalk. Ironically, the scene stopped me in my tracks; I actually made a note on my phone right then and there. For some reason all I could think of was a story I used to read to my children called, "Tear-water Tea" by Arnold Lobel. Are any of you familiar with it?
It's the story of an owl who has a craving for tear-water tea. So he sits down with a tea kettle on his lap and he starts thinking of things that make him sad.
Things like: "chairs with broken legs" and "mornings nobody saw because everybody was sleeping." And here I added: Discarded umbrellas that couldn't withstand prairie winds. In the story, the owl starts to cry; he cries until the kettle is filled with his tears. Then he puts the kettle on to boil for tea. As he sits down to drink his tea, he feels happy and says, "It tastes a little bit salty ... but tear-water tea is always very good."
Cute little story but in that moment I knew it held a profound spiritual truth.
In John 16: 33 (NLT) Jesus said,
"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." In this life, we all see/struggle with trials and sorrows, with overwhelming circumstances or strained near-impossible relationships that make us sad--make us cry. We will all have nights spent filling our kettles with tears. That is part of being human in a broken world--even Jesus understood that.
However, that is only one half of the story IF our trust in God is real--if we can rest in WHO HE IS, the great I AM THAT I AM--our Father, Creator, Sustainer, Lover of our souls, and our Overcomer.
Romans 5:1-5 speaks into this (I'm quoting The Living Bible paraphrase): So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. 4 And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. 5 Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Verse 4 says, "And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us TRUST GOD MORE." Isn't that what our desire should always be? To trust God more? It's His desire for us.
I'm sure we all have a kettle full of tears. But can we take that kettle, offer it to God and let Him turn it into something good? Can we trust that He will turn our ashes into beauty, our mourning into dancing, our spirit of despair into a garment of praise? (Isa. 61:3)
Can we trust Him to make tear-water tea out of our lives?
I pray that we all can say, "YES! Yes, I can trust my God to do this." And that we will then act upon that trust.
But if you honestly can't say this today, then I pray for you too. I pray that you will go to God in honesty and tell God how you feel. And that in humility you will say, "God, help my unbelief." He will answer that prayer too--because His relentless love NEVER runs out for any of us, no matter how many times we return to Him with doubt. May we not doubt His forgiveness and His power to help us trust Him more.