When to Marinate This Thanksgiving

Pale, flabby, and slimy—that’s what raw chicken is. And the piece of fowl staring at me through a plastic bag on my kitchen counter was no exception. A past “Cooking Lesson with New Wife” involved learning to marinate—which, believe it or not, does have a spiritual parallel just in time for Thanksgiving. But you need to know the rest of the story that would prepare me to be the next Food Network Star or, hopefully, more like Christ.

My Lesson in Marinating

That summer morning, with eyes only slightly glazed over, I tried to follow her hand as it quickly rifled through various containers of sauces and seasonings with explanations about the appropriate use of each. I probably looked like Barbie would if she were listening to a mechanic describe the inner workings of a car.

That day was supposed to be my day to cook, but I found myself simply following the instructions of the master. At the end of the lecture on spices, the professor turned to me and asked, “What would you like to use?” Jerking out of my fog, I registered a flash of panic, and thrust my hand toward some brownish goop.

“Excellent!” says the professor. Her student had apparently chosen well. I swallowed hard and wiped the beads of sweat off my forehead. “Now we’ll add garlic and onions.” She exclaimed as she handed me an open jar of garlic. Coughing into the sink, I make a mental note of yet another lesson from the morning: canned garlic is apparently more concentrated than fresh garlic. Pulling myself from the sink, I returned to find the professor chopping onions. Wonderful. Now my sinuses and my eyes are burning.

Has God thrown some caustic things into your life and turned the heat up?

All these caustic things then got thrown into the bag and left there on that slimy piece of chicken all day. Why? Because that night when I threw that chicken onto some heat, a wonderful aroma and flavor came out of that chicken. The chicken, on its own, isn’t that great. It’s sort of pale. Slimy. Boring. No one likes smelling or tasting raw chicken.

Are You Marinating?

It makes me think that’s how we are when God begins to work on us. Has God thrown some caustic things into your life and turned the heat up? Maybe you’re not in a painful trial, but you feel like you’re in a holding pattern— marinating. Maybe it’s a dating relationship (or the lack of one); maybe it’s an ongoing health issue, family tensions that you can’t solve, depression you can’t shake, or bills you can’t pay. Whatever it may be, it’s there. It’s not going away. If it has an end, you can’t see it.

Then it’s time to “marinate” in it. Soak in the joy of identifying with our suffering Savior in some small way through the trial. Sometime soon, the glory of it will be revealed when God displays the beautiful, fragrant thing we’ve become. For this life, with its trials, its burdens, its tribulation, is not our end. One day, we will stand before an infinitely loving Father, and “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

Until then, we rest in the truth that “in this [your inheritance in Jesus] you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6–7).

Contributions by Brent Aucoin

Scott Allison
Scott is a pastoral intern at Faith Church. He and his wife Courtney work in Children's Ministries at the church.