I became well-acquainted with him when my children were younger, and for budget reasons I was hunting for the cheaper bargain cuts at the meat counter.
In the instructions on the label I discovered interesting spiritual illustrations: “You know it, Lord, I’m just a commonplace cut, but I’d sure like to be a gourmet product fit for the Master’s use. How can that happen?” Adolph says I must follow five simple steps:
Moisten all surfaces. “Ah yes, the loving dealings of God in my life may sometimes produce tears. The hurts of life are real and painful. My heart first needs to be moistened on ALL surfaces. Okay, Lord, top to bottom, I surrender every part of my life to You. I hold nothing back.”
Sprinkle tenderizer generously. “The HOLY SPIRIT is my Tenderizer. He is always at work in my life. He transforms my heart of stone into a tender heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26, 27). He makes me docile and obedient to God. He liberally sprinkles God’s promises on my hurting heart to encourage me and lift me up. Lord, help me accept Your loving process for my good.”
Pierce deeply with a fork at ½ inch intervals. “Pain, affliction, and sorrow have a redemptive purpose in my life. In the scriptural account, the heart of the Mother of Jesus was pierced deeply as with a sword. Her will was compliant and united with God’s. But my tough, stubborn will needs to be broken. God doesn’t break my spirit, however. He loves me and desires to bring out His best in me. Sometimes trouble seems to invade all areas of my life at once. Every ½ inch of my world cries out for relief! Nevertheless, I open even the deepest recesses of my life to You, Lord.”
Marinate. “Lord, waiting is so hard! Your work in my heart takes time, but I’m in such a hurry to get out of my difficulty. Nevertheless, my Heavenly Father knows best that I need time to accept what He is doing in me. Give me patience, Lord, while You marinate me.”
Bake, broil, barbecue, roast, or microwave immediately. “I cry, ‘Enough already! Surely I don’t need more heat!’ But my Lord must apply heat to separate my imperfections and bring forth purity. The fire of affliction is the refiner’s fire. My oven experience is essential. When God’s time is just right, when I have learned the lessons He has been trying to teach me, He will deliver me from the oven of my affliction in His own way.”
The result of this painful process? I will be a gourmet product fit for my King! I will have a tender, sensitive, responsive heart toward my Lord, a heart that joyfully, quickly, genuinely responds to Him with a fiat, “Yes, Lord, YES!”
The label on my jar of Meat Tenderizer says 100% Natural. Here I part ways with the analogy because God’s spiritual dealings with me are 100% Supernatural! Man can’t duplicate it; the flesh can’t counterfeit it. Only the Holy Spirit can prepare my heart to please God and unite me with the passion of Christ.
The ingredients in my recently purchased little jar of Meat Tenderizer have been somewhat modified. The label now adds: “NO MSG.” Monosodium glutamate was found to be injurious to our health. In God’s process of maturing me through trials, the Holy Spirit is the only active ingredient. It is perfectly pure, protecting me from harm, and always working for my holiness and for my good.
(Excerpt from the chapter titled "Storms and Adversities" from Leona's forthcoming book.)