What did we do before microwave ovens? How was popcorn made? How long did it take to reheat leftovers? Were leftovers even a thing?
The countertop microwave oven was introduced in 1967 by the Amana Corporation. After microwave ovens became affordable for residential use in the late 1970s, their use spread into commercial and residential kitchens around the world, and prices fell rapidly during the 1980s. Since then, our kitchens and expectations have been forever changed.
It seems like we expect everything to happen fast these days, not just the heating of our leftovers. However, not everything tastes as good when you cook with a microwave. Have you noticed that? Have you ever wondered why? It’s because the boiling-range temperatures of a microwave oven do not produce the flavorful chemical reactions that frying, browning, or baking at higher temperatures produce.
This is why we shouldn’t microwave life. Life is meant to be flavorful and savored. Life is designed for our senses to experience all it has to offer, both the good and the bad. In fact, when we run into problems in life, “microwaving them” makes us miss important lessons. Trials are good for us because they correct improper motives. When we simply fast forward through them, we don’t learn character-forming lessons. Problems and painful situations are good for us because in them, we can learn to be patient and patience develops strength of character. As with food, our character is not fully-baked when we microwave it.
In my 53 years on earth, I’ve learned three important lessons.
- I’m here for a reason.
- It’s not about me.
- I become what I think about.
These, in fact, are universal truths. You have the choice to not believe them, but it doesn’t make them untrue. Choosing not to believe them is like microwaving life.
I am created to be lovable and good because I am created in God’s image. I believe you also are created in God’s image, which makes you lovable and good too. However, because we’re human, we’re imperfect. We’ll make mistakes and hurt each other because of our selfish ambitions. Daily temptations abound to place ourselves above God and others, and those daily choices cause relational discord, which is the root cause of our problems.
God is far more interested in our character than our comfort. He is working to perfect each of us, not pamper us. His goal is not to make us comfortable. His goal is to help us grow up. He uses problems in our lives to grow our character, which is why we need to stop microwaving them.
Ok, so how do we apply this principle? The next time you have a problem, don’t ask, “Why is this happening to me?” Rather ask, “What do you want me to learn from this, God? What are you trying to teach me? What is my blind spot? What character issue do I need to work on?”