Just when I needed it most, my friend invited me to “come have a cup of tea.” It was fifteen years ago, but I still remember, and not because the tea was fancy or the venue impressive. Not at all. She was a fellow teacher who saw me about to have a mega-meltdown in the school office one day. I was a young newlywed making my first out-of-state move and just when everything seemed to fall apart with our moving plans, she asked me to tea.
She gently took my hand and led me to her classroom where she had a “peace corner” set up with a small electric kettle, pretty cups and saucers, a variety of tea choices and sugar all laid out on top of her filing cabinet.
The tiny cup of tea she poured for me helped me pause enough to breathe and breathe enough to remember God could handle my need.
Now, I’m the one pouring cups of tea.
When a friend messages me because she’s scared, this is what I ask: Can we meet for tea (or coffee if you choose, but tea for me!)?
When my tween daughter stresses over a bad day, I put the kettle on the stove and set out the teacups.
It’s not the tea, of course, that soothes the soul. It’s the invitation to be still, to breathe and rest and refresh. It’s drinking in slowly and sharing it with someone who cares, someone who will listen, pray, and just be there, fully present in the moment, not scattered, distracted, rushed, and busy.
The beauty is in the offer itself: Come as you are. Come weary and come thirsty. Come overwhelmed and beaten down. Come frightened and anxious.
Just come, rest here, and drink.
It’s an invitation that echoes God’s heart for us. After all, our God is an inviting God. He beckons us and draws us in when we’re broken, emptyhanded, exhausted, and when we’re thirsty.
The prophet Isaiah shares God’s invitation:
Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)
When we’re filled with fear that nothing is going to work out because all our plans have fallen apart and when it feels like perhaps God has forgotten or abandoned us, we might wonder if God is even listening. It can feel as if we’re banging uselessly on heaven’s door with our prayers, shouting in desperation, “God, hear me! See me! Answer me!”
Right in that place of emptiness and need, we can take comfort because we don’t have to fight for God’s attention. He has already invited us to come, to bring that parched, dry, and empty soul right to Him. He is the One, the only One who could fill us anyway.
So we can stop frantically doing. Stop searching for the perfect solution and attacking the problem with all our personal might and resources. Stop trying to make it all work out on paper or Google-searching our way out of the mess we’re in.
Isaiah tells us the invitation is for those who have no resources of their own anyway. It’s for those who “have no money” and it’s the same invitation in Revelation:
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17 ESV
Let the one who is thirsty come but also let us drink.
Max Lucado writes:
“You can stand waist deep in the Colorado River and still die of thirst. Until you scoop and swallow, the water does your system no good. Until we gulp Christ, the same is true” (Come Thirsty, p. 14).
So, when He invites us to come and drink, let His peace seep down into the cracked places in our heart. Let it saturate our fearfulness and drench our worry with the reminder of His might, His goodness, and His salvation.