“Comfort me Mary, I’m depressed.”

“Have a cup of tea.”

… “Ooooh, I feel better already.”

So went an advert for a brand of tea in my childhood.

It is a well-known British trope that a cup of tea is almost a cure-all. Feeling down? Cup of tea with a friend. Had a shock? Cup of tea – with extra sugar. Had a baby? A nice cup of tea will restore you. Going for a meeting? “Can I get you a cup of tea?” Enjoying a summer’s day? Afternoon tea! There seems to be no occasion when a cup of tea is not considered appropriate and restorative.

But, now here’s the shocker, I’m not a big tea drinker! If I have to (and definitely if the only alternative is coffee) I will have a cup of tea, but I have never really understood it’s supposed restorative powers.

I think this may be how some folk feel about Psalm 23. If a person has not accepted the Lord as their shepherd (guide, protector, provider, comforter) then they will not see how restorative He is for their soul. Not that He removes all problems, but that He is alongside us in them, and taking care of us through them. I recently had cause to spend some time in my local A&E, in a significant amount of pain. I lay with my eyes closed repeating over in my head the whole of Psalm 23 (so thankful for parents and Sunday School teachers who encouraged me to memorise scripture in my youth) and yes, that regular reminder that the Lord was with me did indeed restore my soul. Remove the pain? No. Give me something better to consider? Absolutely.

If you want a cup of tea too, sure have one, but don’t forget where true soul restoration is found!

Ruthie E