Whew! Cooking the Thanksgiving meal is a big deal! As a cook, you want all your dishes to turn out just right so you can be proud of the dinner you serve. You plan, you shop, preparing for every contingency so that your efforts will be well received. And if you leave out one thing – let me just say that if I turn up without ham and potato salad, there will be an uproar. All these details just for one meal (okay, and yummy leftovers).
I recall a few years ago, I moved into a home that did not have central air. I thought we could deal with it. But summer began early and was in full effect that year. It was so hot, my daughter and I were melting in the heat. My dog, Rocco, walked around the house, his eyes pleading and full of abject misery. Help me, he said with his eyes. His tongue hung out as he panted while trying to cool off. My daughter and I could have probably toughed it out, but my rottweiler? Not so much.
So, I bought window air conditioners only to be stymied at their installation. Some things I’ve just never learned to do, sad to admit, so the prospect of doing it myself was off-putting. The instructions looked intimidating with all their verbiage and pictures. Daunted, I put off their installation, even going so far as to purchase a portable unit that should have been easier to install. An abominable failure, let me tell you. It made the house HOTTER, somehow. But I was still afraid to tackle the challenge of installing the window units. I even tried to hire someone to put them in, without success (the fellow almost laughed at me). Firm in my resolve, I set out to solve my dilemma. My daughter and I successfully installed air conditioners without further preamble and I found that all I really needed was to change my mindset from I can’t to I must. I had no choice. Rocco was depending on me. But I let myself be defeated early on because of my phobia of instruction sheets.
I’ve been listening to the Bible on Audible, lately. (I finally found a version that works for me and my devices and that I like. We fit well together.) It seems that having someone else read the scriptures, dramatically, at that, is breathing new life into them for me. As each reading truly should, LOL! I decided to start, in the beginning, at Genesis and just make my way forward. Sometimes, though, when it veers away from simple tales to specific information it can be hard to digest and my eyes glaze over just a bit. As previously stated, it’s overwhelming for me to take in all of that detailed data. In particular, the dimensions of Noah’s ark, the minute instructions for creating and constructing the tabernacle, and statistical information wreak havoc with my ability to comprehend. But as I drove while listening to Exodus after they crossed the Red Sea and God gave Moses the law, this scripture caught my attention:
“Make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn all the way around the lower hem, with gold bells between them, so that gold bells and pomegranates alternate around the lower hem of the robe.” Exodus 28:33
I thought, Lord, what do you want me to learn from this? Why was it important for the Israelites to know all the details of even Aaron’s outfit? This scripture accounted for the design of his royal, priestly garb, right down to the hem of his robe which alternated pomegranates and bells. Huh? Why be so precise? Unbelievable that even this small detail, seemingly insignificant, would matter to God. It struck me then that God revels in detail. He is a God of order. There is a saying that goes, the devil is in the details but I think we have it rather wrong. God can be found there.
The pomegranate may have been merely decorative or a placeholder. But the bell served a specific purpose. Only when Aaron put on these garments could he enter into service and the bell was for his protection. When the bell tinkled as he walked in, the next verse tells us, he would not die. The bells announced his coming and also foretold who he was, his position and God-given authority. It set Aaron apart from the rest of the congregation. Anyone entering without that authorization would die. When I enter into my secure office building, I have a key fob. The door will not open without authenticating who I am and I am meant to be there. Isn’t that amazing? God set up a system of secure identification before computers. Cool.
So God gave Moses a detailed instruction sheet more daunting than my AC unit installation. Predictably, my head swam trying to digest the information. Until I realized that as all of the pieces of my AC unit had a purpose, so did God’s individual pieces. Then God revealed his true reason for taking me to that scripture. He created me and you with just as much detail in mind and when he was done, there were no random, mystery pieces left over that he didn’t know what to do with. He had a specific purpose for creating us and designed us with that in mind. My body is not the result of a random selection of genes from my mother and father. God made me purposely this way. Intentionally.
My sister is a baker of beautifully designed, haute couture cakes. Once, she put together her batter, put it in the oven, only to realize she forgot a crucial ingredient. She later mourned her outcome, saying: I put my good butter in that cake! She always uses good butter, by the way, and premium ingredients to ensure she achieves the desired end result, but I always thought that was funny. With those words, she revealed herself to be our mother’s daughter and a great baker, who would never want to waste good food on a subpar effort.
Our Father is like that, too. He created each of us with premium ingredients, using his “good butter,” too! He knows what he put in our construction and his designs were unique for all of us. He saw this world and decided that it needed one of you to make it better. And when He was done, he saw it was good. What we consider flaws may be part of his plan. For instance, many cakes require baking powder, others need baking soda instead. My sister stumbled upon that fact one day when her red velvet cake would not rise. It was still scrumptious, though! So you and I can be different and still equally delicious, LOL!
The upcoming holiday season often makes us pause and reflect on what makes us thankful. Today, I am thankful for God’s design and plan that created me, and all of us, uniquely. Purposely. Flaws and all. I’m thankful that He put detailed thought into making me. I’m thankful for everything he instilled in me, knowing that it was for a specific purpose. I’m thankful for all those precise instructions that went into the making of Loria, and you, too. And I’m so very glad he used the very best ingredients, including his “good butter.” It was for good and for me to make a difference. Now, it is up to me, and all of us, to use this life and the gifts he put in us. Let’s all choose to be a vessel that is used. It is the very best way to say thank you to our Creator. Happy Thanksgiving!