As I type this, I am in the middle of making mascarpone cheese from scratch for the first time ever. In brief, you stand over a double-boiler waiting for heavy cream to reach 180-degrees, then add lemon juice, then wait a little more, then let it sit overnight. In the morning, you dump the mixture into a cheesecloth-lined strainer over a bowl and wait another 24 hours. Then, then! you will have mascarpone cheese.
While standing over the double-boiler, left hand cuticles pressed in a bowl of salt to prevent blisters from a steam burn, those last 10-degrees were killer. It took only a handful of minutes to bring the cream to 165-degrees. Another ten minutes to reach 170-degrees. And twelve minutes later, it was still 170-degrees. I decided to just move on, added the lemon juice, and waited for the cheese to thicken.
And I sit here wondering. I wonder what damage I will have done by not waiting for the 180-degree mark. And I wonder what areas in my life God is warming up–and the last ten degrees before the mixture is ready for the next step is what is taking longer than any of the rest of the process combined.
I wonder if my impatience in cheese-making, where I won’t know if I really screwed things up for another 36 hours, mirrors times in life when I just decided not to wait any longer–only to see the results at some point down the road.
I remember the job I decided to apply for, even though the six different times I printed the job posting, I felt a strong urging from God to NOT apply for that position. But in the end, I couldn’t see beyond the heat of the work situation I was already in. I didn’t want to wait anymore. I was tired–and convinced myself that I could handle anything as long as it was different than where I currently worked.
And boy, do I wish I had listened. What I was experiencing at the point of decision was a light breeze compared to the situation I walked into by following through with my (sinful) decision.
God knew better. Yes, my life at the time I made the decision that I did was difficult. It kept getting worse. And I couldn’t stand waiting for those last ten degrees, to be removed from the heat. I made my decision. And I felt the consequences in ways that I simply could not imagine.
And yet, God led me through that too. From the frying pan, into the fire, and by my own decision–and yet God upheld me, gave me strength, centered my focus, and allowed me to stand against the evils happening around me. He could have let me languish, but instead, He helped me through–He made me victorious–because in that unbelievable situation, I listened to Him. I learned that lesson–I would follow Him at every step. No longer leaving my decisions to my own devices, I believed Him when He said to not walk away yet. And I believed Him when He gave me the go-ahead eight months later to walk away, without notice, and without looking back.
As I wait for the mascarpone to move from warm cream to cheese, I submit my life tot he One who knows where my life stands in the life-making process.
photo by Petria Follett