"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Into the Marinade

By Micky Wolf

Doesn’t look all that appetizing at this stage, eh?

On the other hand, one of a cook’s favorite methods for creating a tasty, tender, juicy meat entrée is to give it plenty of time in a marinade. Whether in the form of a dry rub or a palate-pleasing combination of herbs and extra virgin olive oil, the purpose is the same—to tenderize and flavor.

Hmm…moments of your life ever bear a resemblance to this process?

Softening the tough places…

The human heart is an amazing organ. Absolutely necessary for our physical body to function, it also serves as the residence for our soul and spirit. All that we are and do is connected with our heart, and our heart-health.

Nonetheless, most of us need some tenderizing. Oftentimes this concerns our wherewithal to love God, others or self. Have some selfish tendencies? Harboring a few subtle prejudices or judgments? Acquiescing to fear and resisting making a choice or taking action? No problem for God. His business—if we allow Him to apply His Truth to the way we think, feel and behave—will most assuredly soften and eliminate these tough spots.

The Divine process of tenderizing is unique to each of us; however, what we do share is the manner in which He produces a more pleasing end result. God frequently works through the circumstances of our lives—the unpleasant, the painful, the unexpected—to demonstrate His strength and power. In Love, He gives us the time He knows is necessary to transform us into a more Christ-like nature.

Along with circumstances, God works through people—family, friends, total strangers—to get our attention and show us a better way. These encounters are critical in effectively softening a hardened heart. Lest we have any doubt, recall a recent incident when the actions of a person you care about hurt deeply and left an imprint on your soul. If we hope to forgive, or be forgiven, we need to be tender, towards others and self.

Adding complex flavors…

What you cannot see by looking at the chicken is the kinds of herbs and spices used in the marinade. And here’s the best part—it doesn’t matter. That they are mixed with the olive oil is what is important.

When God chooses to focus on our need to be more flavorful Christians, He comes up with a blend of ‘seasonings’ that will produce a tasty servant-dish indeed.

The aforementioned selfishness? Have rooms stuffed with stuff? An abundance of finances? A gift or skill that needs to exercised and used? You can be sure you will experience many opportunities to give of your resources, time, and talent.

Those judgmental attitudes? It may seem every event and personal ideology you least agree with or find downright contemptible will touch your daily life. You may feel less threatened if those people and things show up on your television or other form of technology (changing channels is easy enough), but more likely, the flavors God chooses to enhance your nature will manifest through the person at your dinner table or sitting beside you on the plane—or standing in front of you at the grocery check-out.

And that fear that tends to dominate? God won’t waste one unsettling or scary incident (at least to you) in order to help you cooperate with His grace and get your life in motion, no matter how small the steps forward. How better to help us become courageous than by stirring up our faith, hope and trust in He who is greater than any challenge or difficulty we face?

Hidden in plain sight…

It is necessary to place the marinating chicken in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably several, but no more than one day before it is to be used.

The reality is you or I won’t be treated this way, and yet, we can count on some similarities to being transformed IF we choose to say yes and surrender to the fullness of God’s will in our life rather than our own.

Resting in God’s marinade typically includes:

…being put on a shelf for awhile, seen but maybe not heard

…being subjected to misunderstanding or rejection by those who don’t know or comprehend what is happening

…being patient and letting God work rather than trying to do it ourselves

...giving the process the necessary time rather than shorten or circumvent the discomfort we may experience

Have to tell you—when I removed the chicken from the bag to grill for dinner that evening, my beloved couldn’t stop raving about how tasty it was.

“You have to use that marinade again!” Well, at least that’s what he seemed to be saying amidst mouthfuls. I heartily agree.

Go for it, God. We anticipate your flavorful results!

Ever felt like God was seasoning your spiritual life?

How would you describe the process?

Are you willing to be willing to become more fully the person He has created you to be,
especially when it is uncomfortable?


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