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The Stall

Are you good at being patient? Congratulations! I am not.

The result I’m looking for should happen exactly when I want it to, right? Yeah, well, no. That’s not how things work, unfortunately. (Although it would be fabulous if it were!)

Little did I know, however, that smoked meat would provide some insight into this topic. I mean, let’s be honest, smoked meat provides a lot of things already – joy, sweet taste and aroma, joy, and just a lot of joy, really.

I love smoked meat! I love getting the charcoal and wood chunks ready. I love watching the smoke pour out of the top of the little chimney on the smoker in my backyard while it’s going. I love the smell of it cooking…my goodness, that sweet smell.

What I don’t particularly love is the part where you have to wait, specifically the part known as the stall.

The stall is when, after a period of time has passed, the meat does not increase in temperature. Pork shoulder is a perfect example of this. You smoke it for a long time, like a dozen hours or more in many cases. That’s all fine and good, but for around four hours of that time, the temperature stays the same. Exactly the same. It can seem like the stall is never going to end.

Isn’t that true about some of the situations we face in life?

Health problems…why isn’t my body healing? Financial problems…when am I going to get that job I need to provide for my family? Relationship or family problems…why isn’t this situation resolving itself? Football problems…when are the Bears going to win the Super Bowl again?

You know what I’m talking about. All of these situations require a lot of patience. Life in general requires a lot of patience. 

The thing is, I have to remind myself during wait-inducing situations that God is in control. He has a good plan for my life. He isn’t gone. He hasn’t forgotten about me.

During the stall, it’s tempting to tinker with the heat of the smoker or do something else to make the meat change temperature. But doing that will mess it up, and you won’t get that beautiful, delicious barbecue to enjoy afterward. You’ll get something that’s dried out and isn’t good. You just have to wait.

And so, in the same way, I can’t force His hand in my life during situations requiring me to be patient. Doing so will void the result He plans to give me when the time is right and in the way He chooses.

Guess I’ll just have to trust Him. In the end, it will be just right…kinda like that barbecue sandwich.