Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fire Brings Out the Flavor

Not much compares to the ooey-gooey blend of textures and flavors in a s’more.
My husband arrived home one Friday night with a plastic grocery bag in hand. The bag’s contents revealed a bag of marshmallows, a box of graham crackers, and two packages of Hershey's chocolate bars. Milk chocolate for him and three of the girls; Special Dark for one of our daughters and myself. Later that night, as the sun was setting and temperatures were dropping, we threw some logs in the fire pit. We gathered our supplies, pulled up some chairs, and settled in for a sweet evening. 

My husband is the master of the roasted marshmallow. His instinct seems to know just the right height to hold the marshmallow above the flames so it turns an even golden brown without becoming a sugary torch. He even knows just the right moment to pull the marshmallow from the flame; the moment after it is all melted but before it slides off the stick and plops in the glowing embers. With the marshmallow roasted over the open flames until it was just perfect, we squished it between two crackers and a piece of chocolate. It may be a sticky, ooey-gooey mess but oh, it tastes good.

Some marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars were leftover the next day. We decided to make s'mores in the microwave after lunch. They were ooey. They were even gooey, but they weren't as good as the fire-roasted treats the night before.

Roasting in the fire dramatically improved the flavor of the marshmallow, and therefore, the whole s'more.

In the days since our s'more experience, a couple of times I've encountered the writings of one of my heroes of the faith. Although not Jewish, Corrie ten Boom endured time in a Nazi concentration camp for having aided the Jews. She survived and dedicated her life to teaching forgiveness rather than vengeance, grace over hatred. As I read one of her quotes, I thought, "I'd love to write and think like she did." My next thought stopped me, though, "But look at the fire she went through to get there."

In our crazy, mixed-up world, many of us are going through fires. My husband may know exactly how long to hold the marshmallow over the embers, but God even knows how to bring us through the fire. Even more, He knows that when He pulls us from the fire, we will be stronger, wiser, and more beautiful for His service.

As I look back over the years, I have many good memories. However, the fires are what molded me into who I am today. The fires of today are shaping me for His work in the future. The fire makes the marshmallow irresistible, the gold beautiful, and the child of God precious and pure.

"But now, this is what the LORD says--he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior'" (Isaiah 43:1-3).

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