Did you get a blessing this week? Was it a big blessing that you couldn't help but notice? Did you notice the tiny ones, too?
A week ago I had a big dishpan full of green beans picked from the garden. Picking a big dishpan full of beans is a blessing. It means that we will have beans to eat now and in the future. But they mean that before they will be a blessing for the future, they have to be taken care of as soon as possible. My prefered method of preserving them is to put them into jars, otherwise known as canning! You may know the process, perhaps you don't or at least need a refresher course.
Picked garden green beans will need cleaning. If it hasn't rained recently, I take the stem ends off of each bean and then wash them. But if they are covered in garden dirt, then they get an outdoor wash at least once before the stemming process. After they are washed clean and the stems removed, they will need to be cut into bite sized pieces. That means that many of the beans get individual attention from me. Sometimes I am clever enough to get 2 or 3 in a bunch and cut them all together to speed up the process. Next comes putting the beans into jars. For me, this means I have to go to our basement "fruit" room for the empty jars. At the moment, this means I have to go into a very dark room that has no light in it and I have to take some kind of light with me. The light does not light the room up very well and it is still hard to see! (There is a plan to improve this problem!) I can carry 7 empty jars at once with 2 hands, 3+4. But that doesn't leave me an extra hand for aiding in stair ascent and at my age, I need that extra hand. I have to consider-- safety or an extra trip! Arriving back in the kitchen with my jars, I have to wash them, boil them/sterilize them, fill them with beans and water and some salt. Then they get covers and placed in my canner. Next they have to heat up and steam for nearly 10 minutes. Finally they are ready for processing for another 25-30 minutes.
It is not hard, in fact I usually enjoy it--except for the dark trip to the basement!! But last week, I was doing this on Friday afternoon and I knew that I wanted it all done before Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday afternoon. I have used my canner several times this summer and every time I am so very thankful. This canner does not use a pressure gauge to gage how much pressure is building up--they need 10 pounds of steady pressure. My canner that I have right now maintains a constant pressure with a rocker weight and is so much easier!! But--last Friday the pressure would not build. I tried several different times to adjust and make sure that all was in order--but, no pressure. And now it was getting later in the afternoon! After about 4 tries, I discovered that the sealing gasket/ring was compromised and never would have allowed the appropriate pressure!
Now what? It was too late to replace it. Besides, they often have to be ordered, not found on a store shelf. But the beans were in the jars, uncooked. Now there are several options--try to put them all in the refrigerator, but that probably is not good, throw them out and waste the effort put into them, try to borrow a different canner...... And then I remembered that there was something in my supplies that might help. I discovered a very old sealing gasket/ring--very old. I don't know why I still had it as it was old and pretty brittle. Desperation made me decide to try it--without much faith that it would work.
Several minutes later after repeating the pre-canning process, I tried to bring up the pressure!!!!!!!!!!! I still had no faith in that old brittle ring.
But despite my lack of faith, God taught me a lesson! My lack of faith was overcome by His blessing. I was able to complete the whole process before sundown and was able to guard the edges of His day. What a blessing I received!
I haven't had the occasion to try using that old brittle gasket/ring again. I have no faith that it would work again. I truly believe that God helped it to work last Friday so that I could get my beans canned before sundown.
More lessons that I realized after I was done and thought about later-----
I am thankful that God provides for our needs--beans, old sealing rings that had been forgotten about, etc......
The beans need cleaning--I need cleaning too. Sometimes I need to really really be cleaned from the "dirt and mud" I have on me.
I have unusable things in my life that I need God's help in removing them.
I am so thankful that God has time to give me individual attention and help when I need it.
We live in the basement darkness of sin and need God's light to find our way to heaven.
I can reach out and take God's hand to help me each day as I try to get a closer walk with him.
Just as I need to wash and sterilize jars, I need to daily let God clean me up and make me ready/clean for processing for life with Him.
Sometimes I break down and do not properly do what I am supposed to be doing.
I hadn't prepared ahead of time with an extra new sealing gasket/ring--God expects us to prepare for the future now and not wait--think 10 virgins!
Despite my unpreparedness--I was undeservedly blessed!! I hope you have seen blessings small or large, perhaps some that you did not deserve but received anyway!