The writer F.W. Boreham wrote about an old Scottish woman who was very poor and living alone. “But she carefully tithed what little she had and gave to the church. When unable to attend service, she expected a deacon to drop by and collect her offering. The deacon knew well she could not afford it but knowing also that she would be deeply offended if he did not collect it. So, he was careful to stop by.
It was late afternoon one day when he made his visit. Old Mary was sitting near the window having tea. ‘The tithe is on the mantel,’ she said. “Won’t you sit and have a cup of tea?” The deacon sat and when Mary passed him his cup, he looked down in surprise and exclaimed: ‘Why Mary, it is only water you have!’ ‘Aye! Said old Mary. “But He makes it taste like tea.””
This story always speaks to my heart. When difficulties arise and life is tough, it is imperative that God’s kids turn their attention to Him. And when they do, He takes the burden on Himself. Soon even hot water tastes like tea.
Theologically, we might call that phenomenon, “The Joy of the Lord.” That word “Joy” has several meanings in the scripture. It can be a kind of spontaneous, unstrained jubilance. Like you might experience with the birth of a child or in a powerful worship service.
That Joy can be so strong that it finds full expression is some external acts like David did as he danced before the Lord. But in Nehemiah 8:10 and I Chron.16:27, Joy is a state of being that sustains. It lasts. It does not spring from our own abilities or gifts. We can’t manufacture that kind of Joy.
It is a comfort like nothing else. It is an extraordinary gift from our Father. It springs up in hospital rooms, funeral homes, crowded board rooms or household kitchens. It meets us right where we are and offers hope, a hope built on a personal relationship with Christ.
And that Joy is more than enough. He tells us in II Cor. 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
So, if life is peppering your path with rocks and ruts, take a moment to receive the gift He is offering. And remember, the Joy of the Lord is our strength.
And indeed, water can taste like tea!