A big, blue, van-shaped slow cooker. That is my view of our vehicle as we live during this season. We have been missionaries raising support now for almost two years. Over 400 of those days we have been living with family and friends or traveling. That is hundred of hours and thousands of miles on the road in our “crock pot of sanctification.”
Pile in two sleep deprived adults, one potty training three year old, one constantly hungry twenty-two month old, and a nursing five-month old. Pack around the edges all the things needed for weeks of travel. Layer over that some Disney movies. Sprinkle on some cracker crumbs. Oh and be generous with the awesome sauce of grace! Seal the doors for a few hours before removing and sharing the product with the family who is hosting us for the night!
If you do much crockpot cooking (a favorite in our family) you will know that over time the continuous heat and built up pressure inside a crockpot, combined with some spices or sauces, can transform a tough, tasteless piece of meat into a melt-in-your-mouth, flavorful feast! I definitely see that my heart needs the softening of God’s work. I’m the first to acknowledge that my life is filled with tough, grisly bits of sin. But I don’t want to stay in the crock pot long enough to let the pressure and heat melt those away. I dislike the discomfort! But in the discomfort my heart is transformed to be more like Christ. Invaluable lessons are learned that, I have no doubt, are preparing my heart for the rigors of international ministry.
What is your crock pot shaped like? Does it look like a person or illness? Is it a place or a job? It is easy to want to slide out from under the discomfort of God’s lessons. We complain against His plan because of our natural bent toward choosing our own comfort. If only we could see with the eyes of eternity how much we forfeit when we try to escape His will. Are you ready to stay sealed and surrendered in that place of pressure until the grace sauce has permeated you with its flavor? Your personal experience in trials and suffering is essential for a satisfying salvation meal, fragrant with the gospel, served up to a world hungry for healing.