My husband owns a Traeger smoker and it makes AMAZING pizza. Next to brick oven pizza from Italy, this is my favorite way to have pizza.
Notice I said, my husband owns a Traeger smoker. Not “we.” Not “me.” My husband.
Years ago, when the Traeger was a fairly new addition to our house, my husband got it going with food happily smoking on its grates before leaving the property to take care of an errand. I was left in charge of the Traeger and smoking meat.
It caught on fire.
Legitimately, I caught the darn thing on fire. There was smoke billowing up and I was confident the entire porch roof was going to go up in flames…and then I had visions of the entire house being engulfed in fire. I was a hysterical crying mess by the time my husband, father-in-law, and son came home.
Since the Traeger fire catastrophe, I have not touched the Traeger. Not once. I won’t plug it in, I won’t monitor the temperature, I can barely bring myself to put the cover back on it the next day after it’s cooled down. I DO NOT touch the Traeger.
I can think of countless times in my life when a crisis (like the Traeger fire) has caused me to completely withdraw and build up walls (as in, the vow to never touch the smoker ever, ever again). A betrayal; wall built. Lies; back away. A broken promise; trust destroyed. Double-cross; abandon the relationship. Maybe it’s been a friendship, something at church, a fight with parents, grumbling with a significant other, work strife, struggles at schools…we’ve all been in similar scenarios. Something happens that causes us to back away from those involved with the scenario.
You know who never leaves? Who never backs away? Who doesn’t forsake us?
Scripture repeatedly reminds us that the Lord is always near us and does not leave us when there are times we feel abandoned.
“The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” ~Psalm 34:18 (NASB)
“And the Lord is the one who is going ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not desert you or abandon you. Do not fear and do not be dismayed.” ~Deuteronomy 31:8 (NASB)
“Teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:20
Regardless of the crisis, conflict, or tragedy and regardless of how we react, we only need to hang onto the promise that God will not leave us.
I believe God is always near me and that my reaction to strife doesn’t always have to include extremes. I’ll be praying this next week that we all have opportunities to see where we can react more gently in knowing God is with us.
I’m still not willing to touch the Traeger.