Monday, September 29, 2014

Marinating in Life's Disappointments

Sometimes life deals us serious blows that derail us, or that even stop us in our tracks. What should we do?


No, I'm not talking about therapeutic cooking. It's . . . well, let me explain with an analogy of my mother's fabulous lamb shish-kabob. My mouth waters just to think about it.

First, she cut the lamb with a sharp knife. Maybe you feel like your circumstance has cut you deeply. Hold on. Something good will come from it. Lamb can't become shish-kabob unless it's cut.

Next, she peeled and chopped onions until her eyes flowed with tears. Crying is actually a healthy emotional release. Let the tears flow.

She combined the cut lamb and chopped onions together in a plastic bag, sealed it and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. You may think you're out of commission, but this is your season to change. I'm not sure what happens between the meat and the onions inside the refrigerator, but SOMETHING is going on there. Just because the light turns off when the refrigerator door closes doesn't mean it's not working. The fridge does its best work when the door is closed. Have opportunities closed and your life has come to a halt? Hold on! Morning's coming!

When my mother pulled the lamb from the fridge the next day, it was incredibly tender and had a new flavor--because it marinated--in the dark--but only for a season.  Don't let life's disappointments toughen you. Embrace them so you can become tender.

When your life is on hold, marinate with the onions. You will emerge with a new "flavor," ready to submerge into the next opportunity.

"Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning."
Psalm 30:5

Monday, September 22, 2014

When Does Change Stop?

Our church will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year (1939-2014). In preparation for the celebration in October, our congregation has spent months cleaning, painting and sprucing up the inside and outside of the building.

When we began the fixing up process, it was easy enough to simply create a list and let people sign up for whatever responsibility they wanted to assume. But as soon as the work began, we realized we had a problem:

When one thing received a makeover, everything else around it looked dingy.

For example, the three heat registers in the foyer have been in need of a fresh coat of paint for years. More than once I thought to myself, "If only those registers could be cleaned up, the rest of the foyer will look great!"  Not true. After the registers received a make-over, the walls screamed, "What about us?" as they flaunted their smudges and fingerprints. Clean the walls and the carpet cops an attitude. Is there any end to it all? We had opened a Pandora's box of cleaning dilemmas.

When you think about it, it's quite similar to what God does in our lives. He shows us one thing that needs to be changed and, often after much struggle, we surrender that "one thing" only to discover there's something else on His to-do list.

Do we ever reach the point when everything on the list is completed and checked off? Apparently not. The Apostle Paul said, "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:6). Operative words: Until the day of Christ Jesus--the day when He returns for His people.

So, we might as well settle in for a life of continuous change, because once He's completed a once-over in our lives, He circles back to do a do-over.

Now that I think about it, I don't want the change to stop. Do you?