A great blessing of being at Christ the King is getting to know the people. One couple, Larry and Chris, both now sainted, had invited me into their home on a number of occasions. On one of them, Larry was cooking a roast in a pressure cooker. I am not sure of the science involved, but a roast not only cooks faster in such a device, but it will potentially be more tender. As I recall, Larry’s cooker looked dated, with an interlocking lid and a small release valve. Pressure cookers have since gained more safety features, but, initially, if the lone release valve became blocked, it was possible for the pot to rupture. Larry’s pot did just fine, and the roast was great!
I have recently thought of the pressure cooker as a metaphor regarding the stresses and anxieties of life. Have there been times when you felt your life was like being in a pressure cooker? Perhaps you feel you are in one now. I was on a Zoom call the other day, listening to a speaker talk about all the added pressures that have resulted from dealing with the coronavirus. This tension has left some folks fearful and worried, as well as agitated and impatient. We certainly do not want pastors and/or parishioners letting off too much steam or blowing up at each other!
One would think with the development of therapies, the implementation of vaccinations, and with herd immunity potentially on the near horizon (good Lord willing), this pressure would diminish. But even so, will that mean all will go back to normal?
When a pressure cooker is removed from the stove (or unplugged), heat and pressure dissipate. The food is ready! That works great in preparing a meal, but not so much for us humans. Even when we are removed from the “heat and pressure” of our specific situation, the effects of extended time under stress and anxiety can still be evident. In other words, all could go back to “normal” (whatever that means) tomorrow, but the impact of the strain on our lives and in our relationships may continue and take extended time to heal. Our Lord knows this and in the midst of disease and death and grief and mourning, as well as health and life and joy and celebration, He invites us to Himself.
Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
No one wants to be under extended trial and tribulation but, as a pressure cooker can soften a tough cut of meat, so God can use the heat and pressure of life to “soften” our rough attitudes and outlooks. You may be feeling a little delicate, a little fragile, a little weak, a little weary these days, but God in His grace can use that tender heart (your tender heart) to bless you. He can use it to bless you as He teaches you His Word and will. He can use it to bless you as He opens your eyes to the pressures others are undergoing. (You are not alone!) He can use it to bless you by being a blessing to someone else: providing a listening ear or a compassionate voice, offering a helping hand or a time of prayer. He can use it to bless you as you allow others to minister to you.
Let us pray …
Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (LSB, p. 311 #193)
by: guest blogger Rev. James Endrihs, Pastor of Christ the King in Enterprise, AL