The Blessing of Burnt Beans

A ruined pot of beans taught her a valuable spiritual lesson.

Posted in , May 26, 2022

Eleni Kalorkoti's illustration of a frustrated cook over a pot of beans

Living in faith every day isn’t easy. The more troubles rained down on me, the more I realized I didn’t understand how God reveals himself to us. So one evening, with my husband out on a driving job and some beans simmering in my favorite pot, I opened my Bible. I wanted to know God better, so I could serve him better.

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord,” I read in Psalms. “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing.”

Joy was not easy to come by these days. My husband and I had thought things were looking up when we were able to lease a house by the lake. But right after our costly move, his company cut his hours. Then the money order for rent was lost in the mail.

Our water was cut off because it was included in the rent. I had to fill bottles of water at my neighbor’s house. We put off getting new glasses and going to the dentist. Still, it was a struggle to feed the two of us as well as our pets.

No wonder I became engrossed in the Word of God that night. Make a joyful shout to the Lord!Come before his presence with singing.

That’s when I smelled it. Something burning. “Oh, no!” I shouted, jumping up. “I forgot about the beans!”

I ran to the kitchen. The beans I’d been looking forward to eating, not just tonight but for several nights, were ruined. And my favorite pot—a gift from a dear friend—along with them. Now, my neglect hadn’t been caused by falling asleep or drowning my sorrows. No, my beans had burnt while I was diligently attempting to deepen my spiritual understanding.

“Why didn’t you prompt me, Lord?” I demanded. “Not even a li’l hint! How could you allow precious food to burn?” Whine, cry, moan… Well, I could hardly praise God when he’d let my beans burn. “I was trying to learn more about you,” I said bitterly, looking at the scorched pot. “To serve you better! All for nothing!”

Is that how you really feel, Marsh?

Whoa, was God speaking right to my heart?

You were studying my Word, but what did you learn? Are you really going to let a burnt pot of beans ruin our time together?

The Lord’s question got me thinking. If I let this kitchen mishap send me into a spiral of self-pity, my faith wasn’t worth beans. I burst out laughing—and I could hear him laughing with me. A big, booming laugh that filled me with—what else?—joy.

I dumped the beans and went at the pot with a scrubber and baking soda. It took some elbow grease, but the pot wasn’t ruined after all. I chopped some more onions, garlic and salt pork and put them in the pot. I added beans and spice, all the while singing praises to God for filling not only my belly but my spirit too. It was the best pot of beans I ever ate.

Try Marsha’s Texican-Style Pinto Beans at home!

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