Okay.  So today’s entry is a bit of a stretch, I admit.  But bear with me.  I think there’s some takeaway value for you here. …

Now, you’ve heard of that expression, “trial by fire,” right?

A quick check with Dictionary.com says it to be “a state of pain or anguish that tests patience, endurance, or belief.”

Well, I was thinking about just that just a few days back on Thanksgiving whilst my brother-in-law was deep-frying our turkey.  Yep.  It was his first time to fry a bird, but I reckon it won’t be his last.

We’re talking this turkey was “change your life” good, my friend.  Crispy, caramel-colored skin on the outside, and nothing but tender, succulent meat on the inside.  All it took was about 40 minutes in the deep fryer.  But the final product?  Near perfection.

Now, I’m sure that over a half hour of deep frying wasn’t exactly pleasant for ol’ Tom Turkey (if he was still alive, I mean).  How would you like to be stuck in a pot of hot oil that’s bubbling at about 350 degrees?

Uncomfortable, uh yes.  But necessary?  Double yes.  In order to get to near deep-fried perfection, the bird had to go through this process.  The skin absorbed all the harsh elements, protected the interior and actually made the meat that much more pleasing and acceptable.   

And this … naturally … leads me to the Christian walk.  And sanctification.  Naturally.

Turn back through your calendar, if you will, and think of how many deep-fryer moments you’ve had this past year.  And what have been the results?  Did it hurt like the dickens?  Did you cry out to the Father?  Did you wonder when it was going to end?  Did you question why you had to go through this?  Were you in a much better place afterward? 

While you may have felt the burning effects of some hot-oil scenarios in your life, what about your insides?  Is your heart more tender now than it was before you got fried?  In what ways have you softened and allowed God to get in there and really work His good in your life?

Earlier this year, I was majorly burned and might have been the poster child for James 1:2-4 (NIV):

Consider it 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. 

I clung to these verses, but it still took me a full six months to get over the incident.  Now that I’m on the other side, I’m not saying I’d willingly go back and repeat it.  But, I am so grateful to God for bringing me to a place of understanding and of thankfulness for the work He has done in my life as a result. 

He’s opened my eyes.  He’s shown me why I had to go through this trial.  He’s revealed to me areas of my life that still—and will probably always—need some work.  He has comforted and quieted me.   

I know that that most recent extra layer of crispy coating will be a part of me for the rest of my life.  But I like what it’s done to my insides. 

It’s food for thought for sure.