As a child, I remember watching my mother cooking with a steam cooker. As it sat on the stove top and came to a boil, the steam began to build, as did the pressure. When it came to a boil, there was a valve on top that would release the steam, but it would keep enough in the pot to cook the contents quickly. The process would make the meat so delicious and tender, that it would melt in your mouth. With my mother’s blend of spices, the flavor seared this delicious taste in my brain forever. I was mesmerized by the process, and delighted at the end result. Every dish was special, with a twist.
There are often things in our lives that begin to pile up, building in intensity, much like a steam cooker. They must somehow be eased to keep a person from getting too overwhelmed. Recently, when my husband was in the hospital, the stress had built up until it became too much for me. It was his second bout with colon cancer, which had metastasized into the lymph nodes. I needed a way to release the building pressure that, left to its own devices, would explode.
I eventually asked God that it would ease up for me, that He would give me strength and peace of mind. I admitted that I could not do it alone or in my own strength. I prayed this prayer: “I need YOU to rescue me from this runaway steam train.” The steam had been harnessed to take me on a ride, much like an out of control railcar, and it was pushing those rods to turn those wheels and take me over the edge. “I cannot carry this alone. It is too heavy for me to carry anymore. I place it in your very capable hands. Ease the stress. Give me comfort and strength. Carry me and my load to a place of perfect rest and safety. In the mighty name of Jesus.”
Something miraculous took place in that moment. In our little town, we often hear trains passing by in the distance. After this prayer, I literally heard a train in the distance careening down the tracks. I felt its intensity. And just as quickly as I heard it, the sound of it stopped. After a couple of minutes, I heard it again, but this time it was blowing its horn way in the distance. It eventually faded away completely. It had passed and it was still on those tracks, headed to somewhere else far away, carried away in the distance.
And guess what, the stress started lifting. It became God’s voice, telling me that He saw my pain. It was a sign that he heard my prayer, and that he was indeed taking this stress and carrying it far away. After that, I could hear the crickets singing in the distance, which had been muffled by the chaos around me and in my head. And I was once again at peace, feeling strength and joy as they filled my soul. God had released it. And the pressure cooker began to whistle in delight. Dinner was ready, and it was delicious!