“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
–Philippians 4:13 (NLT)
“What’s a church potluck without chili?” I thought, as I scrambled to get my ingredients ready. Now I was in my element—cooking to taste.
I enjoy being creative in the kitchen. Cooking without a recipe to fall back upon reminds me of the way all of us have to live life at times—namely, taking each day as it comes.
One example that requires us to do this might be dealing with the limitations which all of us face. These may require a boatload of patience, and the same kind of creativity as cooking. I know from experience that because of these limitations, life may seem like a crazy, mixed-up stew, where you just have to cook to taste.
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, but I have not found life to be that cut-and-dried. While it is true that we need to look at the limitations we must endure in a positive manner, I have learned that doing this in my own strength is impossible.
Until my life was changed by the Captain of the universe, I was angry and confused. But when I gave my life to God, I discovered that He would walk with me throughout my day. From that moment on, things started to change for me. Now my life is full of purpose and meaning, and I feel that I should try to be the most positive person I can be.
You see, my cup of lemonade is blindness, and life can be like a tumultuous sea in which the boat tips because of this. But having said that, I realize that the boat tips for all of us. So while the peace which God offers is not a safeguard against problems, it is an anchor which can keep us afloat when the boat is rocked by the storms of life.
So instead of feeling skeptical, reach out and open up to Him, for He has made easy what you and I make hard. I don’t say that lightly, however, for the Captain has faithfully helped me safely reach the shore of respite countless times.
Ultimately, instead of struggling against Him, I undertook a personal quest to try and get to know Him better. He designs the cup holder which I mentioned above to fit each circumstance in my life, and because of His faithfulness I find the strength to face each obstacle. He offers the same cup holder to you, but the choice to accept or ignore it is yours. You can continue feeling seasick when things seem out of control, or you can allow the Captain to take the helm of your life.
Even if you have done this before, yielding to the Captain is an ongoing process. Too many times, we base our lives on our emotions, and there is a temptation to hold on to the side of the boat. But when times get tough, if we have spent time reading the Captain’s manual, we will find its words paying off.
During these times, you will find the north star of joy to be a great equalizer, and His joy will add seasoning to your life. This is because when everything seems to be falling apart, His manual tells us that this joy is our strength. It not only gives us the ability to put up with difficulties, but it also gives us the ability to surmount them.
While nobody’s life is a placid lake all the time, I believe that my chili testifies to the fact that my life is at least adventuresome. To be frank with you, I just got tired of looking at what I couldn’t do, so I tried to concentrate on what I can do, because of what the Captain has already done. This is possible for all of us because He first sailed the stormy sea, facing rejection and death.
Thinking about this strengthened my resolve, as cooking for the potluck grew more and more exciting. I decided to try and forget what others thought, focusing on pleasing the Captain instead. Knowing He was on my side, I rolled up my sleeves, thanked God for crockpots, and dove into my work.
There is really no problem with cooking anyway, since I label my cans in Braille, or read their printed labels with an app on my iPhone. But could I convince my friends that cooking is easy for a blind person? Well, that was another matter altogether. So when I arrived at the church potluck, I still had a nagging feeling. I tried to smile, and ignore any foreboding thoughts as best I could.
One of the guys at the event really liked my chili, but he must have come in late because he ate two bowlfuls before asking who made it. When he heard I was the chef, he did a double-take. Right then and there, I decided I’d have some fun with him the next time we met.
About two weeks later, I put my diabolical plan into action. Once I met up with the subject of my joke, I pretended to carry a heavy load of guilt as I said hello. I then told him I had put dog food in the chili he had loved so much, and I let him stew for several minutes. It was all great fun, and when I finally broke down and told him the truth, his relief was evident. The joy that I mentioned above made a point that he won’t soon forget, and I hope you won’t either.
I hope and pray you will embrace the Captain in the storm you are facing, and find the stability, peace, and joy that He offers you.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.