Gary and I live in a house that was built in the 70’s. We’ve done some updating throughout the house, but there’s still a lot we need to do. In our kitchen, we have one remaining relic from the 70’s – our JennAir stovetop. I’m sure that in its day, that stovetop was very current and perhaps rather expensive. But those days are long gone, and now our JennAir is definitely past showing its age.
Yet it still works just fine. Well, except for the left back burner. That burner died last year. Gary worked and worked on it, to no avail. So off we went to a reputable appliance dealer last year to look at other stovetops. We had a contractor that they recommended come to our house to give us an estimate of what it would cost for a new stovetop to be inserted along with an exhaust system, and some new countertops while we were at it.
As we tried to make our decision, we had some unexpected financial expense occur, so we put our possible kitchen plans on hold. I’ve actually managed just fine as I’ve cooked with the loss of a burner….a large burner, to boot. Even the extra Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking wasn’t a problem. Yes, there are times I’ve missed that broken back burner but I’m very thankful for the one that does work.
I’m thinking of those stovetop burners today because this morning I read Psalm 13. No, David wasn’t talking about JennAir stovetops, but in a sense he was talking about a saying we often hear about back burners. We have a saying about something we will deal with later, or something that is put out of our mind for awhile. We say we have, or we will, put that on the back burner.
But have you ever felt like YOU are what’s on the back burner? Do you ever feel like your life has been derailed by events you can’t control, and that things are at a standstill? Do you question why things have turned out this way, and why God seems to be either silent or not changing things the way you want?
If anyone had a reason to feel like he was on the back burner of life, David did. He played music for King Saul, was beloved by the people, a champion in battle, and was to be the next King of Israel. But David ended up running for his life from the murderous King Saul. David slept in caves as he hid in the mountains with his rag-tag group of followers. There seemed no end in sight for him…..no answers to his questions or his prayers.
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” David asked God in Psalm 13. “How long will you hide your face from me?”
Then David does what he’s always done….he prays. He prays even though he’s prayed many times before, and still seems to receive no answer. I’ve been there. Have you? “You pray and pray and God does not pay attention; He hides His face, you say; you plead and cry and there is no relief. So what do you do? You go right on praying, of course! To Whom? To the God Who has not heard. Is there any other? This is lousy logic but excellent faith.” (Dale Ralph Davis)
Sometimes all we have when we’re on that back burner of life is faith, even when we don’t feel like God hears us. We know in our head that He hears, but we don’t see it and we don’t feel it. After all, didn’t the writer of Hebrews say that “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen?”
David’s assurance in his life, as he sat on that back burner, began as he said in Psalm 13:5, “But I have trusted in your lovingkindness.” That word is the Hebrew word, “hesed.” It’s love that refuses to let us go. So no matter where we are, and no matter what we’re going through, as God’s children we can count on His love that keeps on keeping us, never letting go of us.
What’s your back burner today? Is it a chronic health condition that has you sidelined? Do you have a difficult marriage? Are you lonely and forgotten? Have your children disappointed you deeply? Have others been given the jobs or ministries that you used to do? Is age catching up with you?
Whatever your back burner experience is…..whatever is making you feel trapped or useless…..whatever is making you question God…..don’t allow this time to be wasted. Don’t be like my left back burner, cold and dead. Be like the other back burner, working away back there. Keep praying, even if you feel like David and wonder if God is hiding His face from you. Know that God loves you with a firm love that won’t let go.
And know that being on that back burner doesn’t mean you’re abandoned. It means that God has set you there for a time and for a purpose. And during that back burner time, be working in whatever way you can for God. Be like David, who wrote some of his most profound Psalms during his time on the back burner.
Just see what God can do through you and with you during your time on the back burner of life. God can cook up something amazing on those back burners!