You can tell a good recipe by the stains its card bears. Whenever I pull mine out for banana bread, I have to laugh because it is covered with…I’m not even sure what anymore…age perhaps?
I noticed the bananas getting past their prime eating time a couple days ago and told my man that I didn’t want them to go to waste, especially when the grocery store shelves are emptying out faster than the stockers can fill them back up. Besides that, you all have read about how frugal my Granny was and while she is no longer physically with me, her words about wasting food still echo and I still listen!
Oh, I could have peeled and frozen them for future smoothies. But there’s something soothing about doing something familiar in unfamiliar times such as these.
So, I got out my bowls, measured out the ingredients, gave them a good stir, popped the bread pans in the oven and voila’
…from something rotten comes something good! I like to think Granny’s hanging with the great cloud of witnesses and nodding in approval as the aroma of her banana bread reaches the heavens.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)
These are the words of Paul. A man who has done some pretty rotten things. He was zealous against the Church and all Jesus followers before becoming one himself on the road to Damascus when he had an encounter with Christ and ended up with scales for eyes. (Acts 9)
These are the words of a man who has had some pretty rotten things done to him as well. He was beaten and left for dead, shipwrecked, thrown in jail, chained and put under house arrest. Many of the books he wrote in the New Testament, he did so under dire circumstances, filthy circumstances, rotten circumstances.
And yet, his ancient assurance rings just as true for us today. This pandemic brings about some rotten stuff…loss, quarantines, uncertainty, fear, death, hysteria…and yet the same God who worked all things for the good in Paul’s day is the same God who will work all this out as well.
Warren Wiersbe encourages us with these words concerning Romans 8:25-30: God is concerned with the trials of His people. The believer never need faint in times of suffering and trial because he knows that God is at work in the world (v28) and that He has a perfect plan (v29). God has two purposes in that plan: our good and His glory. Ultimately, He will make us like Jesus Christ! Best of all, God’s plan is going to succeed! (The Wiersbe Bible Commentary New Testament p431)
We can trust that God’s recipe for taking something rotten and making something good is stained with what makes our hope ring eternal…the blood of Jesus, His One and Only.
It’s why Paul could say, If God is for us, who can be against us?… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:31, 35, 37 NIV)
Because of Christ.
It’s why Paul could write about contentment, peace and joy while standing in the middle of the city’s sewer system. It’s why he could face the things he faced knowing that he served a God who can take something rotten and make something good.
We’ve seen it in my local community and I’m sure you have to…people sharing, caring, giving with big hearts, open hands and a strong determination to be a people who takes the stained recipe of the cross and bring the sweetest balm to those around them.
The church being the Church. Not hoarding but helping. Not bucking but obeying. Not being fearful but faithful. Not without hope but hope full.
We can trust that the same God to whom Paul referred, is the same God we serve today. And that cloud of witnesses that I’m sure my Granny’s hanging with these days? They are cheering us on as we fix our eyes on Him, the Author and Perfector of our faith. (Hebrews 11:1-3) May the aroma of our kindness in crisis be to them as sweet as my banana bread has been to us.
I pray we can close our eyes and smell the aroma of the sweet. I pray we can open our eyes and see the good works of the One whose works are good. To Him be the glory.