It began with a bag of cherries.
Cherries truly are the gold of the fruit world, so I’ve only bought them twice in over thirteen years of marriage. This time, a super sale had enticed me to carry home a bag of this sweet and juicy treasure.
My daughters tasted them once and mostly were done. Only one daughter and I continued to enjoy them day…after day….after day….until I knew I needed a plan to use the cherries before I had to toss rotten cherries.
Obviously, the answer in such a fruit crisis is to bake a pie. So, domestically inspired, my daughters and I made the pie crust from scratch and left it in refrigerator to chill before rolling it out into the pie pan. Then, we carefully followed the recipe for cherry pie filling. It said I needed four cups of cherries to fill the pie.
I had exactly four cups. Not 4-1/4 cups or 3-3/4 cups. Four cups absolutely on the line.
It was a sign, a heavenly smile on my cooking project.
So, my eight-year-old and I pitted those four cups of cherries (without a cherry pitter) and felt thoroughly proud of our pioneer selves.
Yet, as we stirred the filling on the stove, I felt that first quiver of nervousness, that nagging thought that maybe, just maybe, this wouldn’t be enough to fill the pie.
I was right.
Once the dough was rolled out and the absolutely delicious homemade filling that we were so proud of was poured in, we knew the truth. We only had enough for half of a pie and I was all out of cherries.
This began the series of minor annoyances that disrupted all of my homemaking tranquility and left me stressed, bothered, tired and frustrated within an hour.
Like how I pulled out all the ingredients for my homemade chicken and barley soup and couldn’t find the chicken stock I needed, not anywhere in any cabinet in the entire house, although I knew for sure I bought it at the store that week.
And how I put the homemade bread dough into the oven in the same bread pan I always use at the same setting with the oven rack positioned in the same place as always—-and started to smell burning after 15 minutes. The bread had risen so high it was actually touching the top of the oven and burning.
So, I pulled the bread out quickly and placed it on the counter while trying to reposition the oven racks only to smell more burning. In my haste, I had put the bread down on a stove burner that was still on from my failing soup. The bread was burned both top and bottom now.
It was at this point that I started crying out to Jesus…over cherry pie, lost chicken stock, and burned bread.
A week later, of course, the bothersome kitchen disasters had passed. I bought a can of cherry pie filling that night and finished off the baked goods. We ate the middle of the bread and I found a way to make soup anyway.
Then, I opened up the kitchen cabinet doors and found the chicken stock that had been missing just days before. There it sat exactly where I remembered placing it, exactly where it should have been, exactly where I had looked over and over in one desperate rumble through the cabinet after another.
So, why? Why, God, all of that unnecessary drama over things as simple as soup and bread and pie?
Maybe I don’t meet with recipe disasters and random kitchen mishaps every day….and yet every day there are the distractions: The yanking on our hearts to worry here and bluster with frustration there. The nudging us off our faith foundation and the pecking away at our peace.
In Psalm 86, David prays over his own litany of troubles. Eugene Peterson notes:
There are fifteen petitions in these seventeen verses: concentration is weakened by the distraction of clamoring needs (Praying with the Psalms, June 24).
Fifteen reasons for David to fall to his knees, one pesky annoyance after another, one overwhelming crisis upon another.
And it’s all just so much, so difficult to focus on Christ and to claim peace, so hard to ignore the circumstances and insist on faith.
So, David prays:
Give me an undivided heart to revere your name (Psalm 86:11).
And this becomes our prayer when life is overwhelming or when days grow difficult, when we’re hit wave after wave with bothersome trifles and knocked flat over by the powerful current.
One heart….one mind….united and unwavering in my intentional focus on Christ. This is what we need.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King