When I was a kid my mother told me that tea bags are filled with dead ants. So I concluded that adults were really gross people. First they would take a little bag stuffed with dried dead ants. Then they would pour boiling hot water into a mug. Next they would put the bag with dead ants into the boiling hot water, and finally they would press the bag of dead ants against the inside of the cup with a spoon to cause the dead ant juices to color the water.
Then they would actually drink it – gross!
I call stories like this “Tea Bag” stories. They are stories our parents told us to keep us from doing certain things. For example, my mom also told me that if I drank coffee I would never grow up. Well, that one didn’t work because I drank coffee anyways and I peaked at 5’11 – which is good enough for me.
But my wife is a tea drinker, and slowly but surely I have been getting accustomed to ant juice too. What I have discovered with tea is that you never really know how strong your tea is going to be until it goes into that hot water and is pressed.
With that thought in our minds, Paul writes:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
I find it fascinating that the Church of God grows the most when it is pressed the hardest. It is because when we are struck down we are in our weakest state – “how can we go on?” – and as the Lord tells Paul, it is in those moments that God truely becomes the strength of our hearts.
You never know what you are capable of until you have been pressed beyond your limits – “having done all to stand, stand firm!” – because that is when surrender to God becomes the only option.
What is your “Tea Bag” story?