I sensed another miracle in the waiting. It was my turn to cook and being a poor university student on a limited budget, I had purchased some cheap stewing steak to serve up as my first effort.
It was our first week flatting and we had a meal roster in place. The four of us were scheduled to cook on either a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Tuesday was my day and as I placed the cubes of meat inside the pressure cooker, I marvelled at how these tough pieces of meat would be transformed into the most tender pieces in a matter of hours. The miracle of pressure cooking.
Six hours later, as I dished up the meat and carrot stew one of my flatmates commented, “What are these black bits in the stew?”
I cheekily responded, “Mushrooms,” knowing this was not true.
The stew was gobbled up and received some favourable reviews until it came time to clean up.
As my flatmates placed the pressure cooker in the sink, they discovered that the bottom of the cooker was coated in an immovable black crust, hard as concrete.
After many minutes of pointless hard scrubbing they had to have a rethink.
Frustrated, they decided to abandon this futile task and soak the crust in water overnight.
The next morning as my flatmates revisited the pot, the thick black crust had softened considerably and was easily removed.
This story reminds me of two powerful attributes of God.
The process of tenderisation
Before I became a Christian I had some tough parts to my heart brought about by a feeling of inadequacy and low self-worth.
God has been able to take these hard parts in my heart and gradually soften and tenderise them. This is not something that can be done in a microwave, but through a slow but sure process of tenderisation.
God has been using His power to transform me into His diamond.
What I love about a diamond is that if you rub a diamond in the dirt, it is still a diamond, albeit a dirty one. You can throw a diamond down the toilet and as it emerges from the sewer pipe it still retains its value.
A diamond is so hard and almost impossible to dent or scratch as it has been subjected to so much pressure over thousands of years.
Just as the pressure cooker worked its miracle on a cheap cut of meat, God is working His miracle in me to make me shine like a diamond.
2 Peter chapter 1, verse 4
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him.”
Removing the crust
The second attribute of God is how we can be transformed by soaking in him.
Just as the crust on the stew had to be soaked overnight to lose its hardness, the stress and worry of living in the world takes its toll on us and sticks to us like mud.
We need something to lift the things of the world off us.
I have discovered I can do this by soaking in the presence of God. It’s very simple.
Lie down, listen to worship music and focus on Jesus. Sometimes I may fall asleep during this process but I do not feel guilty about this.
How would you as a parent feel if your child came to you and fell asleep in your arms?
Would you demand they get back on their feet or would you embrace it?
Lying in the arms of the Father in worship is an act of love and an act of surrender.
When we are feeling anxious and stressed, we can soak in the presence of God and find peace.
To soak in the One who knows everything and is in complete control.
Bill Johnson says, “Since we always become like whatever we worship, there is nothing greater that God could want for His people than for them to worship Him, for there is nothing greater than Himself.”
“God does not need our worship because He is some egotist in need of our affirmation. Instead He longs for our transformation that takes place in the glory of His presence, the glory that descends in times of extended worship.”
As we soak in His presence we are transformed to be more like Jesus.
And what could be better than being free and like Jesus?
Matthew chapter 11, verses 28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Wayne worked in the media for more than 30 years before leaving to follow a call to set up The Daily Encourager, a values based media showcasing the best of New Zealand society. He has a passion for Jesus, enjoys walking, ball sports, the arts and song writing.