January 9, 2009
Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor
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.
James 1:2-4, NIV
During the recent holidays, I used my oven quite a bit.
Because it is electric, it automatically has a mind of its own. It heats up very quickly and will char whatever is baking much faster than the time required for completion. That means I have to adjust the times for any recipe that I’m attempting to follow.
So, as you can imagine, for the home cook this is extremely frustrating. It means I must constantly be monitoring whatever is inside the oven. Putting on the potholder gloves. Opening up the door. Pulling out the rack. Checking the top of whatever’s baking to make sure it’s not burnt to a crisp. Closing up the oven. Waiting a few minutes. Putting back on the gloves. Opening up the door again. Covering with foil to protect as needed. Waiting some more. And then testing with a toothpick near the center to check for doneness, while hoping that the bottom isn’t blackened and ultra crispy.
Ugh. What … a … pain!
One of the recipes I made was for some bar cookies called “Brandied Cranberry-Apricot Bars” (see Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, p. 206 if you’re interested). Dried fruit, brown sugar, vanilla, butter, pecans … what’s not to like? The instructions called to bake the crust first (flour, sugar, butter). And of course my oven baked it much faster than the 20 minutes (“or until golden”) that was required. It was actually more like “or until darkest brown” by that point.
Still undeterred, I pulled it out and then poured in the filling (fruit, eggs, pecans, vanilla and more flour and sugar). Next, I baked it for another 35 or so minutes. All the while, though, I was worried that the already partially baked crust would be blackened by the time the cookies were done. I couldn’t see it (since it was on the bottom), but I kept thinking maybe I should take out the pan before the time was up (Was my oven baking at warp speed or not? How annoying! And what to do?).
Eventually, I decided to take let the cookies stay the course. And thankfully, they weren’t scorched beyond recognition. But they were done.
Despite the small culinary victory, situations like this always frustrate me. Why? Because the heat is on! And I need it in order to complete what I’m baking. But, it also forces me to make adjustments while it’s doing it’s thing. And that isn’t something I’m clamoring to do.
Maybe it’s how a lot of us feel in our walks from day to day. We probably don’t go out in search of fiery trials to bring into our lives. But rest assured, they will find us anyway. And when the heat is cranked up in any given situation or relationship, this means we can either get a little crispy or get the heat that we need (and is actually for our good!) in order to continue on our way toward spiritual maturity.
When life seems to be feeling “hot, hot, hot,” we can either refuse to make adjustments in our attitudes or choose to find the joy in knowing that the Lord is at work. As his children, we know that he is always checking on our conditions.
It’s what it means to be loved by God. He cares too much to leave us alone, to be burned up. And he wants to move us—even through allowing fiery trials—toward completion as part of his eternal plan.
Intersecting Faith & Life: You’ve heard the saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” right? As Christians, though, our God is with us—no matter the intensity of the heat of our circumstances. He is asking us to “stay in the kitchen,” to persevere and to look to him. Whatever is baking you to a crisp today, know that nothing is impossible for God. If you ask, he will help you find joy as you are maturing in your faith.