This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” —Jeremiah 6:16 NIV
I could not make up my mind. Our daughter and children are living with us this year, and I wanted our Easter holiday to be a special one. With their father away overseas, it seemed extra important to make the holidays memorable and as happy as could be under the circumstances. So … after some pondering and consulting with my husband and my daughter, I came up with the unique idea of having spaghetti for Easter. The kids love spaghetti. My husband loves spaghetti. If I make the sauce from scratch, I can even enjoy the meal. (My Meniere’s disease requires very low salt, so no store-bought sauces for us.)
I labored over that spaghetti sauce. Our daughter pitched in and taught me some new techniques in searing the sausage and meatballs and mixing that flavor into the sauce with loads of garlic, onion, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil. I was excited. Being low salt usually means bland food. Not on Easter, I thought triumphantly. We will create the World’s Best Sauce full of flavor and zing! I bought zoodles for my daughter and me so that we could fully enjoy the sauce without worrying about pasta ending up permanently on our hips. That lovely sauce simmered for hours on the back burner of the stove and the aroma was heady. I was happy.
Bedtime came and I realized the spaghetti sauce needed to cool a bit before going into the refrigerator. So, I popped the sauce, still in the pan, into the sink, ran some cool water for the pan to sit in for a wee bit. And then … I forgot it and went to bed.
Yup. I awoke the next morning and realized our beautiful sauce had sat right there in the sink … all night … potentially breeding nasty bacteria at the perfect temperature for rapid growth. Panic and horror set in. I googled mad and crazy questions about whether it was really that bad to leave a sauce filled with sausage and meatballs out all night at room temperature. A few sites assured me it would probably be fine. Other sites warned me of imminent death if we tried to consume said sauce. I knew I’d need to throw it away and the thought made me sick. The waste! Oh, the sad waste. And then the frustration at myself for my carelessness.
All the while, it was Easter morning. And I was consumed with panic and petulance. I sat down with my Bible to have a quiet time with the Lord—and He questioned me: “Are you going to let this ruin Easter? Is Easter really about creating a good spaghetti sauce? Would things go better for your dear family if you sulk and pout and grieve? Would the sauce magically be okay if you sit in disgust at your carelessness?” Of course not. And yet, at this crossroad, it was so hard to choose the “good path.” “God,” I asked, “Help me focus on You and on the joy of the day.” I thanked Him that we are in a place where ruining a couple of meal’s worth of food will not send us into bankruptcy. And, with His help … I let it go.
Easter morning was filled with joy as children ate hot cross buns and enjoyed Easter baskets. Church was rich with worship and celebration as we all rejoiced in the Incredible Gift of eternal life with God. And the scrambled egg and bacon lunch with raspberries, cantaloupe, and grapes hastily purchased after church? Well. It was delicious.
I love Jeremiah 6:16. Read it again with me: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it’” (NIV). Jeremiah, of course, was talking about much larger things than spaghetti sauce. God’s beloveds in Israel were forsaking Him for idols and sinful pursuits. Jeremiah pleaded with them to go back to the ancient paths, the good ways. But they would not. Still, as I think about it, maybe it is the “spaghetti sauce decisions” that start us down the wrong roads. Whenever we choose to walk away from doing good, from keeping our hearts focused on Jesus, we are in danger. One step down the wrong road swiftly leads to another. Oh, how I need the lesson of the crossroads. I need to stand and look when I am upset and feeling temperamental. And then I need to hear His voice saying, “This is the way. Walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21b NIV).
Heavenly Father, help us to choose the good paths in matters small and large. Set our feet on the path that leads to life and life abundant. We want to walk that path. Help us in Jesus’ Name and for His glory. Amen.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
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