So, do you know what simmering does? It cooks slowly and gently so as not to damage.
Yesterday, a lot of ingredients were tossed into my brain. I was thinking about pain and illness. I was wondering about healing. I encountered the idea of spiritual warfare. I read about pride, identity, and temptation. All of these ingredients were sitting there in my brain, and I didn’t know what to do with them.
Often, the recipe is clear — knead, bake, slice, serve. But yesterday, I had no idea what I was ‘making’. Probably because I wasn’t intended to ‘make’ anything at all. I felt the nudge to put the pot on simmer and walk away.
Sometimes I do this in our house. I have a lovely crock pot that I fill with a pale chunk of pork or chicken, a couple tablespoons of slimy olive oil, some sea salt and other dry pungent spices. I turn the dial to ‘simmer’, and I walk away. It’s lazy cooking, yes, but’s it’s pretty effective. Those ingredients, which look less than appetizing at the start, start to simmer, and as they do, they give off a pleasing aroma that fills my house and greets my husband when he walks into the house after a long day.
So, yesterday, as I was taking in some thoughts that were less than pleasing — pain, illness, temptation, spiritual warfare, pride, sin — instead of tossing them all into the trash, I decided to allow them to simmer for a while. I mean, it couldn’t hurt.
While they were simmering, I went to the gym and walked on the treadmill for a half an hour or so. Then, I submersed myself in the warm bubbling waters of the jacuzzi. I showered, dressed, then drove to meet with two students in a neighboring town.
I drove home, ate some dinner, watched some television, crocheted, read, and went to bed. And the ideas were still simmering. I didn’t open the pot to stir. I didn’t turn the heat up or down. I just let them cook slowly and gently.
This morning, the battalion met to continue in our study of Hosea. I think I was hoping that I would be able to open the crock pot and see that all the ingredients were ‘done’ simmering. That didn’t happen.
Instead, as they continued to simmer, I observed this sisterhood that I have been plunked down into. I watched as they cared for one another — observing a swollen toe, praying for an ailing husband, applauding successful surgeries, and joining in to sing together.
Today’s topic was the idea that we often wander from God because we don’t truly know Him — really know His character and appreciate His love for us. We acknowledged together that we are “prone to leave the God we love,” and learned together that this is because we know of God, but we don’t fully know Him.
Yet, in spite of our wandering ways, God continuously pursues us. He puts obstacles in our self-destructive paths so that we will turn around and wander back toward Him. Sometimes when we are redirected in this way, we get close enough to see His face beaming with love for us — His beloved. And if we can get our eyes off the distracting shiny objects long enough, we can look into His eyes and see ourselves reflected there. And that, my friends, is when we get a glimpse at our identity. Not our estimation of ourselves in relationship to our peers, but our true identity as children loved by God.
I think I’ll let that simmer a little longer.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
Jeremiah 31: 3