A few years ago, 2:30 a.m. on a Saturday found a couple of buddies and me standing in a hole in the middle of a field with shovels in our hands. The plan was to slow-cook some slabs of pork in the pit for a bar-b-que party that afternoon, but to be ready in time, we had to start early. We lit the fire, spread coals by the light of the moon and the glow of a lantern and placed the meat on the grate. A remote, digital thermometer probe was inserted into the largest piece of meat with an alarm set to sound when the pork reached the target internal temperature.
Once the pork was placed on the hot grill, we covered the hole, and the cooking began. The covers were lifted only slightly on the hour to add fresh charcoal to keep the fire constant. The meat wasn’t touched. It just sat there in the heat and darkness of the pit for over 12 hours.
Have you ever found yourself in the “pit?”
God seems far away, the heat is intense, and the darkness is deep. There are periods when the discomfort seems so great that you think, “Surely nothing good can come of this.” You watch for God to throw back the covers and pluck you from the hot grate. You wait, and wait, and wait…but he doesn’t seem to be there. You call out, like the Psalmist, “How long, O LORD, will you forget me forever?” (13:1). And there’s no answer.
Flashback to the cookout…
When the meat reached the temperature desired, we removed the covers and tried to lift it. The pork fell apart. Meat that was raw and tough 12 hours earlier was now so tender that it could be pulled apart easily by the force of a couple of fingers.
The gristle, the fat, and the stringy meat that went in changed with the heat and steam of the pit. It emerged tender. The tough, stubborn, and impure people that go into a trial can change with the heat and pressure of the “pit.” We can emerge more tender.
God knows our “target temperature,” and he’s watching us move toward it, even when we cry, “How long?”
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4).
What God does in us while we wait is as important as what we’re waiting for.
– Ben Patterson
Sorrow burns up a great amount of shallowness.
– Oswald Chambers
We would be tenderhearted toward each other and offer forgiveness quickly and freely. – Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
We will have hearts that seek the interests of Jesus, no matter how tempted we are to seek our own comfort in times of difficulty. – Philippians 2:21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
We would not allow trials to derail our hearts but would embrace inescapable times of difficulty as being ordained by God. – 1 Thessalonians 3:3 No one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.