Take 5 with Kathy – "Sour milk and bitter water…"
Earlier this week I discovered an almost full carton of 2% milk had gone sour. Since I drink skim milk and use the other only for company, I wondered how I could possibly use it up. So, I dug out my recipes hoping to find a few that called for sour milk. I could only find two, one for a cinnamon loaf and the other for chocolate chip cookies. Since I’m doing some baking for my parent’s diamond anniversary open house, I decided to make two cinnamon loaves and the cookies. Surprisingly, there was just enough milk for both recipes.
While mixing the ingredients I thought how odd it is that you can take sour milk, add butter, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder and cinnamon and come up with something that tastes absolutely delicious. I often make this sweet bread and it turns out perfect every time – a reliable old family recipe. The cookies are also a family favourite, but instead of chocolate chips (which I didn’t have) I threw some chocolate wafers into my food processor and presto – chocolate bits! They weren’t as sweet as the usual chocolate chips but when mixed with the other ingredients, including the sour milk, they turned out to be a pretty tasty little cookie.
Often life is like that. Something sour, bitter, hurtful, or sad comes into our otherwise normal day and for a time we wonder how something good, sensible, or meaningful can ever come out of it.
Friday was such a day for me and my husband. We received word that a pastor acquaintance of ours had tragically died in a snorkeling accident off the Florida Keys. He was vacationing there after ministering for several years in a church in our city and had plans to join his sister on a missionary endeavor before returning to his homeland. How can that be? A man in his early forties, faithfully serving the Lord, preparing for a missions trip – it doesn’t make sense to our limited understanding.
A close friend of ours has been very ill in the ICU for two months with no assurance of what the future holds for his health and well-being. It seems like yesterday that we laughed and celebrated together with him and his wife at a restaurant after my son’s wedding. Two days later, they discovered he had a benign brain tumor. The following week he was in surgery, and within a few days a serious infection invaded his cerebral fluid. What good can possibly come from such pain and suffering? The faith he and his wife have in God is what keeps them grounded and trusting for a miraculous healing.
Last night I was reading a verse which really gave me comfort, “…I am not concerned with great matters or with subjects too difficult for me. Instead, I am content and at peace. As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me.” Psalm 131:1b-2 (Good News Translation). When things are just too hard to understand and beyond our human reasoning, we have to rest in the knowledge that God knows all things. He takes all the ingredients of our life, both sweet and sour, and blends them together creating something which will bring glory to His name and cause us to marvel at His ways.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
Only God can turn bitter water into sweetness we can drink!