Slow Cookin’

My favorite restaurant around home is a barbecue joint! And like most good barbecue joints they slow cook the meat at a low temperature for a long time to make it nice and tender, only throwing it on the grill to sear in the flavor just before it is served. Man, that’s good stuff!

I thought about that yesterday after a phone call from someone struggling to find others near her on a relational journey. She had just moved recently across the country and she said frustratingly, “It’s been two and a half months and I don’t see anything happening yet!”

Now, before you think ill of me, I understand her frustration. I really do. I remember being there at so many places in my life where, wondering where God was if I didn’t see stuff happening as fast as I wanted. Somehow I got the mistaken notion that just because something had happened yet, it was proof that it never would, or that I wasn’t part of a longer (read, slower) process that would really produce the fruit of God’s kingdom in my life. But I knew something had changed in me as I listened to this woman. I almost busted out laughing and had to choke it down knowing my laughter would be misunderstood. When I told Sara about the phone call over dinner, she did bust out laughing. “Two and half months? That’s nothing!”

See, we know that now. We didn’t know it years ago, but living now in the beauty of God’s unfolding work in our lives (and being in our 50s here probably doesn’t hurt) we know the best things in our life were produced in a slow-cooking process of God transforming us at a deeper level so that we could enjoy the fruit of what he wanted to produce in us. Whether it was setting us free in a broken area, drawing us closer to his presence, or connecting us to other brothers and sisters for rich rich fellowship and doing things in God together, none of those things happened quickly. But they did happen deeply and we’re now experiencing the riches of those things.

Remember we serve a God who told Abraham 25 years early that he would have a son and he would become a great nation. Abraham thought that would happen immediately and was frustrated by the promise when month after month it was clearly not happening. He even tried to fulfill the promise his own way. But if you read his story you’ll see that the frustration of an unfulfilled promise did its work in him, bringing Abraham into a deep and abiding faith in who God is. We may think God makes promises to torture us. God actually makes them so we can relax in the moment and let him fulfill his purpose in his time.

Tough lesson. That’s why I didn’t want to laugh at someone who thought two and a half months was more than enough time to give rise to significant and authentic body life around her in a new location. Now I’m not saying God can’t do it that fast and I do know people who spilled into realities like that almost on a whim. But most of us know that is the exception rather than the rule. Our God does slow-cooking. That’s not because he likes our discontent, but because he wants to bear the fruit in us that remains, an that means the slow, deep transformation that rises from the core of our being, not just throwing us a bone to keep us quiet every time we get frustrated.

Someone wrote me this morning with an observation his wife shared the other day: “The journey is in the journey.” We are so focused on the destination we too often miss the joy of the process. Isn’t God’s promise to us specifically designed to help us relax and just ride out our life in him today, instead of being so frustrated at what he hasn’t seemingly done yet!

If you’re going to enjoy this life in him, that’s something you’re going to want him to teach you. Otherwise you’ll be counting days and fighting off frustration at every turn. Father knows everything about you and where you are today. He knows what he is doing in you to open the real doors into that life in him you’ve been praying about for years. He is doing his work in you to bring that to fruition. Unfortunately, it’s just probably going to take a whole lot longer than you’re thinking it will. But if your eyes are on him, rather than on the outcome, the delay won’t matter. In fact it will only make the final result so much more tasty and succulent.

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16 Comments
  1. Melbourne Sue November 29, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Well, can I just say that your busting out laughing over Kent has meant that he now bestows the same kind of disgusting behaviour on me? And it’s *certainly* not funny from where I’m standing 😉

    I think giving other people the gift of knowing they can slow down and that there is more time than we think is maybe one of the bigger gifts we can give, me was thinking the other day.

  2. todd November 29, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Wayne,

    Funny you should post such an article as this the day where I spent a significant amount of time thinking how easily I become stir crazy and impatient ha ha! I’ll have a good laugh at myself!

    Thanks for this reminder…trusting Father really is a “moment by moment” ordeal isn’t it?

    I really love the part in the Shack where Jesus exposes to Mack the folly of man’s insistence on “independence and turning to the work of his hands” for fulfilment and identity….Also the part though where the Spirit affirms that what Mack does while he’s here on earth does matter…how when he operates in conjuction with God’s stirring…things change for the better.

    I need to remember the folly of the one and the simple blessedness of the other and I need to read this blog again tonight and maybe tomorrow as well….I can be thick and need to be reminded 🙂

    All God’s best,

    Todd

  3. Melbourne Sue November 29, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Well, can I just say that your busting out laughing over Kent has meant that he now bestows the same kind of disgusting behaviour on me? And it’s *certainly* not funny from where I’m standing 😉

    I think giving other people the gift of knowing they can slow down and that there is more time than we think is maybe one of the bigger gifts we can give, me was thinking the other day.

  4. Jim November 29, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    What a journey!! Now in my early sixties I have to say that I see that very often the promises that the Father has given has taken some time to manifest into reality. I can now see many promises being fulfilled that I receive a long time ago and at one time I didn’t think I would live past thirty. I have learned to enjoy the trip. Even through my failures He has been faithful to His promises. Thanks Wayne for sharing your thoughts and His truths with us.

  5. todd November 29, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Wayne,

    Funny you should post such an article as this the day where I spent a significant amount of time thinking how easily I become stir crazy and impatient ha ha! I’ll have a good laugh at myself!

    Thanks for this reminder…trusting Father really is a “moment by moment” ordeal isn’t it?

    I really love the part in the Shack where Jesus exposes to Mack the folly of man’s insistence on “independence and turning to the work of his hands” for fulfilment and identity….Also the part though where the Spirit affirms that what Mack does while he’s here on earth does matter…how when he operates in conjuction with God’s stirring…things change for the better.

    I need to remember the folly of the one and the simple blessedness of the other and I need to read this blog again tonight and maybe tomorrow as well….I can be thick and need to be reminded 🙂

    All God’s best,

    Todd

  6. Jim November 29, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    What a journey!! Now in my early sixties I have to say that I see that very often the promises that the Father has given has taken some time to manifest into reality. I can now see many promises being fulfilled that I receive a long time ago and at one time I didn’t think I would live past thirty. I have learned to enjoy the trip. Even through my failures He has been faithful to His promises. Thanks Wayne for sharing your thoughts and His truths with us.

  7. Aussiejohn November 30, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    Wayne,

    Great stuff! I hope Jim doesn’t think I’m topping him, but having walked with Christ for some fifty odd years, I can say that the waiting doesn’t get easier but the certainty, that Father is at the control panel and knows what He’s doing, does!

  8. kent November 30, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    I’m sorry Sue. I just find you to be a very funny person. When you mix your sense of humor in with your discombobulations brought on by Jesus walking you into new freedoms it just cracks me up.

  9. Melbourne Sue November 30, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    Hehe it’s alright Kent. I was only joking about it annoying me. I actually find it really amusing, and it helps to keep me more light-hearted about the difficult areas of my life 😀

  10. Aussiejohn November 30, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Wayne,

    Great stuff! I hope Jim doesn’t think I’m topping him, but having walked with Christ for some fifty odd years, I can say that the waiting doesn’t get easier but the certainty, that Father is at the control panel and knows what He’s doing, does!

  11. kent November 30, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    I’m sorry Sue. I just find you to be a very funny person. When you mix your sense of humor in with your discombobulations brought on by Jesus walking you into new freedoms it just cracks me up.

  12. Melbourne Sue November 30, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Hehe it’s alright Kent. I was only joking about it annoying me. I actually find it really amusing, and it helps to keep me more light-hearted about the difficult areas of my life 😀

  13. Hanan Merrill December 6, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Yum, yum! I love slow cooked FOOD. I seem to have patience for it. But, slow cooked spiritual life-now that’s another story. I love the result, but it’s not quite as simple as piling stuff into a slow cooker and forgetting about it for 12 hours. It can be living with raw realities that are very present while waiting. Anyway, thanks for the reminder that the waits ARE part of what God’s doing to make our lives way richer than a microwave spiritual transformation.

  14. Hanan Merrill December 7, 2007 at 2:22 am

    Yum, yum! I love slow cooked FOOD. I seem to have patience for it. But, slow cooked spiritual life-now that’s another story. I love the result, but it’s not quite as simple as piling stuff into a slow cooker and forgetting about it for 12 hours. It can be living with raw realities that are very present while waiting. Anyway, thanks for the reminder that the waits ARE part of what God’s doing to make our lives way richer than a microwave spiritual transformation.

  15. Sundoulos December 9, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks! Maybe I will finally “taste good” after all! The last 10 years outside-the-camp and largely without contact with other followers have had there moments of despair that, indeed, nothing was going on. That wasn’t and isn’t the case as Father “slow-roasts” me for His glory. Every minute of every day is a delight to be His in this world.

  16. Sundoulos December 9, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks! Maybe I will finally “taste good” after all! The last 10 years outside-the-camp and largely without contact with other followers have had there moments of despair that, indeed, nothing was going on. That wasn’t and isn’t the case as Father “slow-roasts” me for His glory. Every minute of every day is a delight to be His in this world.

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