“What do you want for dinner?” I asked.
Tired of that question, my husband purchased me a cookbook that resembled an encyclopedia.I scanned its 800 pages and chose an easy recipe. Put softened butter under the skin of two whole chicken breasts, spread vegetable oil on top of the skin, and bake at 450 for 40 minutes.
In addition, I sliced sweet potatoes and roasted them on a cookie sheet in the lower oven while I steamed broccoli. Since I left nothing to chance and double-checked the instructions, I was aghast when I opened the oven door and a trail of smoke ascended into the air. Blackened chicken, still pink on the inside, sizzled in a pool of hot grease that dripped into the oven like lava.
My husband followed his nose to the kitchen and rescued the sweet potatoes stuck to aluminum foil as I dodged splattering grease to retrieve my chicken breasts. Dinner was a fiasco, not a feast.
Improvising, I bathed the chicken with instant, brown gravy. After one bite, I pushed aside my plate and watched my husband and son chew the tough, dry chicken as though it were roadkill. To their credit, they didn’t complain, but then again, there was a carving knife in my hand.
My appetite, along with my good mood, disappeared. I pledged allegiance to Betty Crocker’s faithful culinary advice, and went to the sink. While I scrubbed greasy pans, I thought of a young woman’s recent comment.
“If we’re called by God to do something, and we’re in His will, why is it such a struggle?”
I didn’t answer her then. It was a valid question and I wanted to search scripture for a Biblical response rather than lean on my own understanding. But after two hours of my life, spent cooking and cleaning dishes for naught, I reached one conclusion.
Who said life is easy?
I’m called to be is a wife and mom, and in our household that job description includes cooking all the meals. I don’t love to cook. And some days I’d rather retire my apron and make reservations. But I’m not going to quit or second guess my role because there are days of tribulation. I might just as well shave my head when I have a bad hair day.
Fact is, even when we’re in the center of God’s will, we have the human responsibility to walk out our lives. We take the good with the bad and “walk in faith, not by sight.”
Visit the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 who were called by God. Familiar names like Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Samson, and David who struggled with hardships, temptations, and doubt, but they were commended for their faith. “Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. There were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword.” (Hebrews 11:36,37)
Did they question why life isn’t easy?
Deciphering God’s will, and staying afloat when stormy waters threaten to capsize me, is part of the human dilemma. Scripture tells me to persevere and press on instead of shouting “uncle.”
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame….so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (Hebrews 12:2,3)
Today’s dinner fiasco was another notch in my apron strings of comical cuisines not meant for human consumption. But after 33 years of marriage, the good meals outweigh the bad. We haven’t starved. In fact, as I write this, I hear my son pouring cereal into a bowl.