I have been drinking more tea than normal lately and have become especially fond of a green tea that I have recently found. Not only is it supposed to help boost immunity but, it also has the most delicious peach flavor…what a perk! Tea has become an experience for me. It’s warm and soothing, aromatic, tasty, and helps clear the sinuses that have been giving me such a hard time lately. When looking at the box, there was a reference to “the art of steeping”. Huh? An “art”? To tea? So I decided to look into this art a little more.
How do I make my cup of tea? I pour fresh, cold water into a kettle and place it on the stove to boil. Water boils at about 212° F. If I were fanatical about my tea, I would use a thermometer because it seems that different types of teas should be steeped at different temperatures (something I never knew). Then, I place my tea bag into my mug, and pour the boiling water over it and let it sit for a few minutes. This is called “steeping”.
Per Wikipedia, “steeping” is the soaking in liquid (usually water) of a solid so as to extract flavors or to soften it. Some teas are prepared for drinking by steeping the leaves in heated water to release the flavor and nutrients. Some solids are soaked to remove an ingredient, such as salt from smoked ham or salted cod, where the solvent is not the desired product. Personally, I find it interesting that the same process used to extract the delicious flavors infused and packed into my little tea bag were also used to extract impurities from solids. It caused me to look at my little cup of tea a little differently.
I remember a series of sermons two years ago in which the pastor said that during times when you are closer to God, or a new Christian, or working for God’s kingdom purpose….the heat will be turned up. I remember this so vividly because it was something I was experiencing in my life as he was preaching on the topic. You may find yourself under attack, experiencing hard times, health issues, or placed in a situation that tests your faith or your relationship with God or someone else. I was that tea bag! Placed in a mug…boiling water pouring overtop….sitting. Sitting in that hot water, seeking the Lord, praying for guidance and deliverance….as the impurities left, and the sweet, aromatic flavors were extracted. All in His time. All in His way. All to His glory. It’s a process. For Christians, a continuous process.
Consider it a pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test,he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:6-7
While the experience may be as unpleasant for that little tea bag as it was for me…I look forward to that boiling water. Without it, I would not have a positively wonderful and flavorful cup of tea.