Ode to a BBQ

Thirteen years...that's a long time ago.
We had been married for 12 years.
Our kids were 9 and 7.
And we were in one of those places, between where we had been and where we might be going.

And our barbecue (thought you'd never ask)...well our barbecue was 8. It gave it all it had, and then some. It didn't cost much new, and certainly performed to that level. Burners had been replaced, the grill had been scraped several time. The cooking surface was shrinking more and more each season, as the hotspots correspondingly grew. The space between the grill became a flame throwing zone. You didn't leave the experience with the same amount of arm hair that you started with. A water bottle or hose needed to kept near by. If you like your hot dog black on the outside and frozen on the inside, you would have loved that old barbecue...

I know, we should have replaced it sooner. But being in my fifth year, in a ministry position, meant that there wasn't a lot of extra money to go around. So, we made do. We made adjustments. We just put fewer pieces of chicken or fewer discs of hamburger or fewer tubes of "meat" on top of the inferno. Then place our burnt offerings on the four plates of our dining table altar and thank God for something to eat.

Then came the Spring of 2006. The thought of making it through another summer season with our barbecue was not very appealing. Our kids had caught on that food wasn't supposed to taste like that (we should never have let them make friends). I had just resigned from my position at the church to complete my Masters Degree. My resourceful wife, Amanda, and I were praying and wondering about where the Lord might lead us next. Being unemployed with a young family, is not where anyone thinks they are going to be.  We were at a place in between, and it wasn't very comfortable.

Our meals were simple, as we strived to trust in the daily bread, even when it was charred, that only God could provide.  It was a season of learning to be thankful for the small things, it allowed us to treasure our time together as the four of us. It was a time of unknown adventure, waiting for what God would do next.

And then, one afternoon, as we were preparing to throw another match on the propane fireball we called a bbq, a truck stopped in front of our house. A man hopped out, and proceeded to unload a new barbecue...it must be for the neighbours...
...but then...he started to roll that Broil King beauty up our driveway...no mistake he said...this is for you. "I can't tell you who bought it, but he was delighted to do it."...and that's all we ever knew...

That was thirteen years ago!

As we now say goodbye to this unbelievable provision, we do so with a great sense of gratitude. We never knew who generously provided this gift. But every time we cooked on it, we remember the story and we often told the story. It's embedded in our story of how God provides for us, even when things seem bleak and the economic road is difficult. I often tell people regarding our life lived, on a single income in ministry, that "God always provides, sometimes He uses money."

Liminal space is the space in between where we have been and where we are going. In the summer of 2006, we were there and that barbecue reminded us that even if we didn't know where we would be going, the Lord was looking after our needs, and we could trust him with the journey. This barbecue is just one of those provisions along the way. It reminds us of the abundant, overflowing, generous love of God, and his ability to use one small act to change the perspective and course of a family for a lifetime.

Many times I have prayed with thankfulness for the person/family who joyfully shared with us. As we move on from your gift, may the Lord continue to bless you for the difference you have made in our lives, the provision of even heat on a piece of meat won't easily be forgotten. It has been a symbol of God's faithfulness in our family for these thirteen years! It has been sewn into our memories, one hot dog, one hamburger, one piece of chicken, one salmon, at a time.

So here we are, with a new barbecue. I wonder what else is coming next!


Post a Comment