I have a new favorite pastime: cooking meals that make my children cry. It is so rewarding! I am apparently very, very good at it, too! Tonight it was Chicken Fried Rice. Last week it was Lasagna. (Email me if you would like lessons or tips on this newfound hobby. I love to mentor people.) Who knows- the meatloaf I have planned for tomorrow may be another crowd offender! Oh, I am giddy with excitement at the thought of how many more nights I will have full of disgruntled little people telling me they “feel like eating cereal” and that they would rather wait for breakfast than eat their dinner.
The truth is that the food they want to eat now was the food they turned their noses up at a year ago. One little rascally boy in this house has been known to pout all the way through dinner because his food looks so awful and then clean the plate with a smile and cheer for more once his audience lost interest in his plight.
Part of the problem at dinner is that they have fewer choices. At breakfast we allow them to select which cereal they want, at lunch they choose their sandwich type, but at dinner they eat what Mama cooks or they can eat their bread and drink their milk and go to bed really hungry. (I figure if there is at least bread and milk, they will survive. I have read Little House on the Prairie, and it did just fine at many meals for Laura, Mary and Baby Carrie.)
I guess sometimes we just have to get used to the mess we are looking at in life to be able to chew it up and get it down, you know? It’s not our fault, really. We just don’t know what to do with the new weird looking stuff life throws at us every now and then. After all, there are so many things we get to choose in life, it’s shocking when you can’t hand select other things- like how other people treat you, how fair things are, or if you get what you want/need/love. I am sure that God has often been amused when I so definitively declare that there is NO WAY life makes sense, and I can NOT believe I have to go through it. Period!
Fast forward five or so years and a friend is going through the same kind of thing. I am suddenly full of advice and encouragement and I am so sure she will get through it and be just fine at the end. I have seen that kind of mess on my plate before and I know it’s not only edible, it’s good for you! After I say all of this I smile, wink and click my heals together in the air like Fred Astaire. It’s very effective ministry.
With history in view, seeing is believing. It is much easier to discern God’s purpose with the end so clearly defined. Oh, but to live like believing IS seeing is a different thing, for sure. To have faith and hope and trust before the results come in is an intriguing challenge that I don’t always love the thought of taking on in my life.
I have a friend who says it is a very good thing that God likes to put us in situations where we need our faith to grow because “without faith it is impossible to please God.”(Hebrews 11:6) When life is easy, and there is no need to believe because we so easily see, we are not assured that our lives are pleasing God. That one ALWAYS puts me in my place! I mean, of course I want to please God, so I guess I will take my problems to the bank, thank you very much.
I guess, then, there will be many more nights of glorious meals unappreciated in my house, and many more years of glorious problems turned into fuel for my faith furnace. Someday I know my kids will realize that I am an amazing cook. Someday maybe I won’t have to talk myself into believing God is one too, maybe I will cheer the minute he serves it up.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.