Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sweet and Sour

The smell rising from the kitchen aroused strong pangs of desire in me.  I knew that my wife was there, attractive, fragrant and radiant with her sleeves tucked seductively up over scandalously beguiling bare arms.  I trod the stair carpet gently, unwilling to break the spell of allurement.  Carefully I moved across the kitchen floor, positioned myself secretly behind her feminine form.  All was laid bare before my gaze.  Diane had been baking again!

I love her baking.  Her cakes are a constant challenge to my waistline, not to mention my low fat regime.  There may be death in the pot but hey, what a way to go!  I allow the fabulous fumes to arise into my searching nostrils while my hand creeps silently towards the newly made objects of desire. ‘Oi, get off!’ The slap to my hand is playful but has the desired effect. ‘They’re not ready yet.  You’ll have one with your tea’.

One thing I have noticed over the years that Diane has practised the baking arts is that the ingredients alone are never very tasty.  Baking soda hardly tickles the palate.  The whites of an egg or two make very sticky banality whilst lemon rind is bitter and choking.  Flour makes you sneeze and margarine is just slippery candle-wax.  No joy in stealing any of those.  But ah!  When collected and manipulated by my gifted wife together they become baking heaven.  The difference is phenomenal.  What you would not give a penny for, when brought under the spell of her recipe you could sell for a mint.

My life has been like that.  The ingredients alone are not very attractive.  Incidents and experiences that on their own are at best bland and at worse bitter and choking, are blended by Jesus Christ the master baker to produce a recipe that is for His glory.  Romans 8:28 says that in all things (even the sour and sad things) God works for the good of those who love Him. The isolated incidences alone are never satisfying and cannot easily be understood, but God takes all these sour ingredients and blends them together to produce an outcome that is good.  Mind you – it’s the heat of the oven that I can’t stand.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Mystery of Darkness - Treasure in Secret Places

Making gemstones is a godly task.  Only eternal beings need apply.  Much of the work will be done underground and under intense pressure. Working hours will be measured in aeons - millennia may be taken as rest periods.  Inspection of the finished article will require a light source, preferably one which spawns a universe. Applicants will need wisdom to choose the appropriate material, and perseverance to pursue it beyond its many faults.  Giving up will not be an option.  The gemstone thus produced will reflect the glory of the master craftsman. But the stone itself - well that's just coal under pressure - carbon that forgot that its primary colour should be black. Stuff that without the vision and hope of the craftsman would never even see the light of day.

"But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living... It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed in silver. It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or sapphires. Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels. Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies. Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell?

 ‘The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.’" (Job 28)
What does this mean for me?  It means that God does not have to explain to me all that He is achieving.  It means that only eternity will show the true beauty of what God was doing in my life through pain and waiting.  It means that 'the work of God' is so much deeper, higher, fuller and larger than my puny understanding of it to date.  In the darkness of my pain and sorrow God is making gemstones.  Far from the gaze of those who want quick and easy answers, the Almighty is getting Himself glory.  And I don't mind that really, just so long as these years of agony and pressure serve some purpose, somewhere, and that the carbon of my life ends up to the praise of His glory instead of the ash heap where it deserves to be, but for God's amazing grace.