Burnt Grill Cheese & God
I remember eating a burnt grill-cheese sandwich. Totally burnt. Both sides black. Why? Because I had three little kids, and a burnt grill-cheese sandwich was the only thing I had time to eat. The kids had perfectly grilled grill-cheese sandwiches. Both sides lightly browned with the cheese stringy, just the way they liked it. But, by the time I had served three kids a sandwich, fixed three sippy cups of apple juice, given each child a napkin, and of course, cut the crust off three perfectly good sandwiches, my sandwich was burned beyond recognition.
Sacrifice. That’s part of the message here. Moms do so much to sacrifice for their children. More than a burnt grill-cheese sandwich, every day moms give up time in front of a mirror, a quiet moment with a good book, or sufficient time to pick just the right shoes to wear to work that day. Her needs get shoved to the back of the closet as she concentrates on making your child’s day perfect. Wait…did I say perfect? Sorry, I didn’t mean that. Perfect is impossible. Perfect doesn’t exist. So why do moms do what moms do? Because we’re moms! And Mom stands for Make Outstanding Moments for others. Well, maybe I made up that last part, but that is what moms do. So, that day, I scrapped the black off, had lunch with my babies and didn’t doubt that I was doing a very important work.
If you are in the “burnt sandwich” phase of parenting, this too shall pass. Now we’re on to part two of this blog post. “This too shall pass” is a saying my mom said to me often as I was juggling kids and jobs and volunteer responsibilities and a husband and a few hobbies I loved to do. Even if you’re not in this phase, but you’re in the teen phase or the young adult phase, the saying holds true—this too shall pass. In fact, everything you are experiencing right now will pass and everything the world is experiencing will pass. History tells us that, doesn’t it? Our personal lives tell us that too. I no longer have three little kids talking at the same time and keeping my house cluttered. That day has passed. That was my yesterday. At one point, I had a blood disorder which required months of treatment, but again, that was my yesterday life. Not today. That serious illness did pass.
Sometimes we get so bogged down in our “today” that we forget we have a “tomorrow.” Remembering that we have a tomorrow is critical to our good mental health. A tomorrow is where the next good thing, the next happy face, the next good job, the next success, the next Jesus loves me, the next loving relationship, the next everything—lives. It’s in the hope of a tomorrow that we can go to bed at night with anticipation on our heart. And anticipation is the thing that spurs us on to a renewed energy.
The world is suffering right now. Big time. There are wildfires, covid cases, earthquakes, hurricanes, and war. So much so that it makes burnt sandwiches seem petty and silly. But, life, for most of us, is a series of burnt sandwiches and, over time, we can get cynical and sad. Sayings like, “keep your chin up” and “the sun will come out tomorrow” just don’t help much. Even “this too shall pass” might cause us to shake our heads in despair.
But today is a new day. God has ordained it to be new. The burnt toast of yesterday is either consumed or thrown away and brand-new pieces of bread lay before us. Of course, that is just an analogy, but it’s true. What lies before you and I today is a fresh look, another chance, opportunity, do-overs, and possibility thinking. I love how the message says Isaiah 40:28-31. It speaks to many of our questions about where God is in all the troubles of the world. It tells us that God is where He has always been. He never stops loving, supporting, and cheering us on. Take a look:
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.
I don’t know where you are today or what you are doing, but I’m pretty sure your day will include a few pieces of burnt toast. You can gobble it right up or you can toss it in the trash. Either way, God is right there with you. It’s not in that piece of toast or that illness or that job loss or that crumbled relationship that you are defined—it is in God’s power to strengthen and hold you up that you will be refined.