The microwave and the slow cooker are two of the best inventions in a long time. Both have become staples in most kitchens. But the two methods of cooking cannot be more opposite. The microwave is fast. You can thaw, cook, or reheat all in a matter of a few scant minutes. The slow cooker, however, cooks just as its name implies . . . slow. If you are in a hurry, use the microwave. If you want to instill pungent flavor and create tender texture, use the slow cooker. The microwave is great for popcorn, bacon, and leftovers; but the slow cooker produces a tender, juicy roast.
But more often than not, we use the microwave. Think about it. When was the last time you used your slow cooker? Do you even know where it is? We have grown accustomed to instant results. We can get or news immediately online without having to wait for the “film at eleven.” We can go through the drive-thru at McDonald’s and take dinner home in just a few minutes. We can exchange information via several emails over the course of just a few minutes rather than waiting to swap individual letters via traditional mail. We live in a microwave world and we are spoiled.
But God does not always act in a microwave manner. Sure, sometimes God moves quickly and we are amazed at the speed and ease with which He brings about His purposes. But most of the time, God goes slow. You see, God is more interested in our development than in our destination. He is more concerned with our character than with our comfort. God knows that the best way to cook a successful life is to let it slowly simmer and absorb all the richness of life around it. In His perfect knowledge God surrounds us with circumstances that add flavor and texture to our lives.
Consider our Biblical example Naaman. You can read about him in 2 Kings 5. Naaman was a brave captain of the Syrian army. He had won a lot of battles, had made quite a name for himself, and had done well for himself and his family materially. Yet there was one enemy he could not defeat. It was the incurable and fatal disease of bible times called leprosy. Leprosy was highly contagious and outwardly obvious. In spite of all his military victories and exploits, this dreaded disease still cast a pall over Naaman’s life. And undoubtedly over the course of several years he had tried the remedies of hundreds of would be doctors and healers who made great promises to him. But they had all failed.
Yet one young girl among the captive he brought back from a recent raid in Israel assured him that God’s prophet in Samaria could cure him. Naaman went with high hopes and what seems to be a slight attitude of arrogance and entitlement. He expected Elisha to do some grand and glorious public act to once and for all cure him. In stead, the prophet sent word to him by a servant to go to the Jordan River and wash himself not once, twice, or three times, but seven times and he would be cured. At first, Naaman’s pride prevented him from going, but at the encouragement of his servant he did and he was healed.
Like us, Naaman wanted Elisha to come up with a quick and easy “microwavable” solution to the problem. But God had another plan, God was cooking Naaman in the slow cooker. The passing of time presented a test of resolve and faith which finally resulted in a solution. The lessons learned in the journey made the destination all the more special.
Have you about given up because your answer hasn’t come by way of the microwave? Maybe God has you in the slow-cooker. You are being stewed rather than nuked because God is using the process to bring about an even greater work in your life. So let me encourage you to hang in there and enjoy the trip. Soak up the experience. Let the flavors of your circumstances permeate your life as God uses the delays in your life to teach you more about Him, His purposes and His ways in your life. Look around and see the hand of God, listen carefully to the voice of God, and lean on the goodness of God. He is cooking up a blessing just for you.