Raise your hand if you collect toys. Any kind of toys – garden toys, craft toys, electronic toys, car toys, sports toys, horse toys, or any one of the endless examples of the shiny things that capture our attention and are fun to collect. Me? One of my weaknesses is kitchen toys.
Two fairly recent additions to my kitchen – the electric pressure cooker and the sous vide cooker. Two appliances pretty much on opposite ends of the cooking spectrum – one designed to cook quickly and the other slowly. One pressures ingredients to maturity while the other caresses a recipe to fullness. (If you’ve never used a sous vide, it is essentially a heating element that sits in a water bath providing a gentle heat that cooks your ingredients to a perfect and precise temperature. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it – especially for steaks. I digress.)
In a weird way, this got me to thinking about how we handle suffering.
Just coming off the Easter celebration, I’m reminded of the disappointment and despair that Jesus’ family, friends, and followers felt Friday and Saturday – not knowing that Sunday was coming. They had no idea that the despondency of the weekend would be turned on its head come Sunday. They knew anguish. They didn’t know elation at that point.
If they had, I wonder if they would have brushed past the pain. Would the knowledge of a Sunday celebration have become a “pressure cooker” bearing down on all of their anguish, disappointment, and despair? Instead, they simmered in their Saturday because they didn’t know Sunday was coming.
We have the benefit of the knowing the rest of the story. We know that Sunday came and that another Sunday is coming when there will be no more tears. These two Sundays give me hope beyond measure. Yet, for my hope to honor both Sundays – my suffering needs to be caressed. I must be willing to simmer in Saturday.
We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.Marcel Proust
The Sunday celebration is so powerful and inviting. It is so tempting to slap on a smile and cruise past the pain. We hate being in pain and we hate seeing someone we love in pain. So, we pressure – ourselves and others. Quickly, let’s get things back to the way they were. Hurry let’s put things back on track.
If Sunday teaches us anything, it should teach us that things are not always the way they seem. On Saturday, Jesus was dead and sealed in a tomb and it seemed that he was gone forever. Yet, by the dawn’s light, we learned that things were not anything like they had seemed. Quite the opposite, Jesus arose from the dead and awoke as the eternal hope.
When someone is suffering, it may seem to others that Saturday is lasting longer than expected or that they are “stewing” instead of “simmering.” We pressure them to get back to the way things were or to put things back on track. That’s not always possible. Sometimes suffering changes things permanently or sends us down a new path. Even so, healing is possible. The eternal hope of Sunday is a key ingredient to healing our current sufferings and making our way through Saturday.
How many times have you prayed to freed from life’s troubles? So often, we pray to be released from the cooker before our healing is complete. “Simmering in Saturday” is about healing. Like any recipe, a recipe for healing comes together under prescribed conditions. Cook something for too long, on too high of heat, or under too much pressure and it disintegrates. Cook something with the right amount of time, heat, and pressure – it can’t fail.
The hope of a coming Sunday is most healing when we invite it to simmer on Saturday.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus. His death and resurrection provide us the solution to a problem that we cannot tackle on our own – sin. By your gracious Gift, we now have hope of eternal life with You. Even though “Sunday” is coming, we are all still dealing with our “Saturdays.” Knowing that suffering isn’t forever pressures us to deny it leaving us unable to heal. Other times, Saturday is so dark that we can’t see Sunday on the horizon and all hope seems lost. Send your Spirit to illuminate the dark. Let your Spirit bathe us in healing comfort. May your Spirit strengthen us when healing requires a “simmer.” In all sufferings, we pray that You will bring healing and comfort through your Son, Jesus Christ, so that we too may comfort others. Even on our darkest day, let our hearts be filled with the hope of a coming Sunday. Through your Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen!