Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Long, Hot Simmer

WARNING: Rated R for violence! Not for the squeemish, nor the faint of heart, nor small children, nor dedicated members of PETA. If you fall into any of these categories STOP READING NOW! All others please read on.

It is said that if a frog is dropped into a pan of boiling water it will instantly jump out to safety. If, however, it is placed in a pan of cool water and the water slowly brought to a boil it will calmly allow itself to be slowly cooked to...well, to death. I cannot attest to the truth of this strange claim nor can I fully understand why anyone would even want to know if it is true or not. Nevertheless, there it is.

For some of us, our entry into the Christian fellowship is like that. My own certainly has been. Immersed in ritual Christianity at an early age I jumped out of the pan at the earliest opportunity. I had attended church services regularly, sung in the choir, been a youth group participant, enjoyed Bible camps and retreats, even taught Sunday School, but my greatest attention had always been elsewhere. There were so many unanswered and unanswerable questions that I always wondered where my Damascus Road was, my epiphany, my eye opening awakening. It never came, it still hasn't nearly fifty years later.

Oh, I didn't fall into a life of drugs, alcohol, sexual depravity, crime, or even one of emotional upset and despair. I did many of the normal everyday things most people do. I married, raised a family, got an education and a good job, had good friends, but there always seemed to be something missing. I looked everywhere, music, art, philosophy, eastern religions, obscure metaphysics, science, history, literature. I found some interesting, some intriguing, some mysterious, some even exciting, but one by one they were all curiously unsatisfying. Then one day, for no particular reason, I picked up the Bible as I had done many times before. Leafing its pages haphazardly I stopped on Romans, chapter nine and began reading. Verses 20 and 21 fairly jumped off the page at me.

Rom 9:20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"
Rom 9:21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

I leaned back into my chair as I realized that I had all the while been silently blaming God for my shortcomings, my weaknesses, my failures. I had always believed, but had never fully trusted. I had always read Scripture, but had never really had faith in it. Suddenly it dawned on me that I hadn't leapt clear all those years ago, but had only jumped from one pot to another with water of a more pleasing temperature. The heat had been slowly rising ever since.

Joh 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

This frog had somehow received mercy, had died and had been 'born again', not with tongues of fire, but with a long, slow simmer. The world looks different now, not in a material way, but in a 'God's plan' way. I don't claim to understand His plan, but I know I'm a small part of it and that's good enough for me. So if you're trying, seeking, but just don't feel the fire and can't seem to fully understand, be patient and come on in. The water's much better here...except for the frog who, sadly, didn't make it.

Praise God!

Nuda Veritas

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