Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.
Okay. I admit it. When it comes to freshly roasted peanuts, I'm a junkie! I love them almost as much as I love bacon, and that says a mouthful.
Every Christmas, a sweet couple at our church gives the staff, which includes my husband, Danny, who leads the contemporary service, the delectable presents of Georgia-grown pecans and . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . raw, shelled peanuts! Besides myself with delight, I waste no time in researching how to roast these treasures in my oven.
Recipe secured, I go for it. The results? Hey, Planters, take a hike! These are the most delicious peanuts to ever grace my palate. Raw to roast makes all other peanuts toast!
When I recently roast some peanuts given us this past Christmas, I share some with my daughter, Sarah, and her husband, John. When our granddaughter, Virginia Rose visits, she spies our Tupperware container full of them. "Daddy and Mommy wove dese," she says.
That gives me an idea. We have lots of babysitting hours coming up in the next week. Why not let one of Virginia's activities be learning how to prepare peanuts for roasting? Just the tactile experience will be a blast for her. I, however, could not begin to imagine what sort of creativity she would bring to the mix.
"Do you want to help Gammie roast some peanuts, Virginia?"
"Let's wash our hands first. You always wash your hands before you prepare food."
All set and ready to go, I grab the thin-lipped, flat pan and pour the raw peanuts onto it. Virginia's eyes glow with anticipation.
"Virginia, we need to spread the peanuts out so that they are absolutely flat on the pan. Help me push them around so they fit they pan evenly. No nut can rest on top of another."
"'Kay, Gammie," Virginia says, and dutifully helps me flatten the peanuts into the pan.
But, the temptation to mess them up again is too much for her. As I'm preheating the oven, it's no problem. I simply allow her to play with the peanuts as she pleases.
She makes mountains. She makes hills. She creates a stadium with an audience of peanuts. Then, picking up a peanut in each hand, Virginia announces, "Wadies and gentmen! Wet da fight begin!"
Battling peanuts??? I'm amazed by the extent of her imagination and, at the same time, reminded how the simplest of things can be turned into our lives' most entertaining and enlightening moments.
"Gammie, fwatten out again."
I do so. Virginia resumes her play. Creating more mountains and hills. More boxing matches.
"Okay, Virginia, when the oven beeps, I have to flatten out the peanuts for good so we can cook them. Don't we want to give some more to Mommy and Daddy?"
When the buzzer goes off, Virginia willingly allows me to make the roughed up peanuts level, transformed once again into a perfect cooking plain. No argument. No protest. She understands the rules of this game and is more than happy to concede to reason.
Are we as accepting when we know God promises to take us from rough ground to level and smooth? Turn our rugged places into a plain? Like Virginia, we explore and examine with our imaginations and ingenuity. In doing so, perhaps we forget from time to time that He is the One who has blessed us with curiosity and creativity. Thinking, erroneously, that we are the ones who can make things better, or right, on our own without involving God in the process.
Virginia listened and obeyed. She understood what the final outcome entailed.
Are you trusting in God's final outcome in your life?
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for the lessons you teach us in the ordinary times of our lives. We trust that when we come upon the mountains of adversity and the hills of trials, that You will lead us to Your plains of peace and keep us secure in Your unending love and grace. Amen.