Friday, July 19, 2013

"Shrimp and Grits"

(If you ask politely, I'll give you the recipe.  Sadly, however, if you don't live along the Gulf Coast of the UniteStates, where the finest and most delectable shrimp in the world swim, you won't be able to duplicate it).

     This afternoon, Frances and I lunched on our version of shrimp and grits, unarguably the finest rendition of this culinary miracle you could ever hope to enjoy (I make this claim with all due humility, of course).

     Frances makes the grits, which are, if you've never had them, composed of coarsely ground corn cooked in water until they become soft and creamy, upon which time you then load them up with real butter (please, please never disgrace yourself or good grits by adding the form of plastic often referred to as margarine!  Or any of those other weird substitutes, none of which can ever begin to to take the place of God's gift of the authentic glory known as butter).  Frances's grits are the real deal, stirred continually, with the butter added at just the right time, along with just the right amount of salt (which causes me, by the way, to recall that time in the border state Kentucky where I was surprised to see grits on the menu at our hotel.  I ordered them, and things were fine until the first bite when I discovered that somebody had put sugar into that gift of God that He never intended to be, of all things, sweetened! I nearly ransacked the restaurant!   AAArrrrggg!).

    I make the shrimp.  Actually, you might say I make the shrimp scampi, a combination of butter, creole seasoning, garlic, lemon, shrimp, and butter.  Yes, butter x 2.  At the start, and at the finish.  If I do say so myself, the end product is Divine, and if I do say so myself yet again, my version is my version.  That is, it's my original recipe, as led and enabled no doubt by the Holy Spirit (who alone could have come up with this wonder of God's wisdom and my saute pan).

    When Frances and I both finish our handiwork, we put it all together (that's why it's called shrimp and grits.  Well, you probably figured that out, didn't you?).  I would try to describe the taste, the texture, and oh yes, the aroma that fills the house as you cook the dish.  But they haven't made words yet that can do justice to these wonders.  Suffice it to say that when I give thanks before we partake, I really give thanks! 

    I share all this with you to make you ravenous!  Just kidding!  No, there's a spiritual truth and reality in all of the silliness and seriousness.  Namely, that much of life involves the combining of components whereby the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.  I'm all for shrimp, lemon, garlic, creole seasoning and lemon as individual entities in and of themselves (yes, I've been known to suck on lemons and even chew a little chopped garlic).  Put all these jewels together, however, and... well, again, no existing words suffice to express such goodness.  This reminds me of the great Component Coordinator, as it were.

We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

    Few truths more bless us in times of both pleasure and difficulty than this assurance that our Heavenly Father possesses the capacity to fit everything into our lives for His good purpose of conforming us to the image of the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:29).  He wastes nothing, including the smiles, the tears, and the everyday and mundane moments when it seems that nothing is happening, but which may actually comprise some of God's greatest working in our lives.  At the end, something far greater than shrimp and grits appears.  "
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:43).  We shall appear in glory, perfectly changed into the spiritual and moral likeness of our blessed Savior, and eternally fragranced with the sweet savor of His love.  All this will occur because the components of our lives, all of them, were united by the Great Coordinator to accomplish His eternal purpose in Christ.

    I can still smell the aroma of the dish we enjoyed this afternoon wafting through our home.  As I do, I think of far greater things, and of the far Greater One who combines components, including whatever characterizes this moment in our lives, to fulfill wonderful things to come that we can only barely imagine at present.  And, even more than before that meal this afternoon, I bow head and heart to give thanks.

"God... worketh all things after the counsel of His own will."
(Ephesians 1: 3; 11)

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