When I was a kid, I used to beg my mom to buy the kid cereal; you know, the one chocked full of marshmallows. I was-still am, actually-crazy about those tasty morsels of sweetness. My reasoning for preferring the marshmallows was simple; the marshmallows were smooth and sweet, while the rest of the cereal was grainy and rough on my tongue. I remember informing my mom that I wish they would make a cereal that was only marshmallows.
Well, wouldn’t you know it? A few years later they made such a cereal. I am not ashamed to say I was first in line to buy this culinary delight. Boy, was I disappointed! It turns out that too much sweetness isn’t all that appetizing.
Eating straight sugar is gross.
So, why do I bring this up? I remembered this tidbit from my childhood recently when I had breakfast with my nine-year-old daughter, Grace. I poured her a bowl of cereal, complete with multi-colored marshmallows. As she dug into her breakfast, milk trickling from her chin, I observed her. She strategically avoided the marshmallows, choosing instead to focus on large spoonfuls of regular cereal. When I asked her what she was doing she replied, “I like the marshmallows, Mom, but I enjoy the regular cereal the best.” When pressed for a reason she merely responded that the regular cereal soaked up the yummy milk, but the marshmallows disappeared in the milk.
Huh. I sat dumbfounded. What brilliance my sweet daughter had just bestowed upon me!
Mountains are just marshmallows.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.
Luke 3:5-6 NIV
In the passage above, the wise Dr. Luke was replaying the great words of John the Baptist, proclaiming the changes that Jesus would bring to earth. In his appearance Jesus would top off valleys, and collapse mountains, repairing the broken and rough pathways in his path. He would bring salvation. One thing I have discovered, Lewis, is that to accept salvation first we need to realize that we need it.
There’s more to life than marshmallows.
How many times in life do I seek out the marshmallows? I crave for life to be always sweet and simple; however, the real nutrients of life are found in the grainy, rough edges. Only in times of sorrow, the shadowy detours into the valley, can we really soak up the abundance of God. Only He can make our rough edges smooth.
Lewis, we will all have marshmallows in life. It is important to remember that in the same way marshmallows dissolve in milk, the mountain tops of our life disintegrate, leaving us to wonder what we did to be placed in this valley. What remains is the hearty, grainy times, the crooked and rough times. This is the stuff that is sometimes a little hard to swallow. My daughter, Grace, helped me realize that God’s grace acts like the milk in cereal. We bathe in it and it makes the rough times smooth. God completely saturates our valleys. It is only in this place that we see our humanity, our need of salvation.
Enjoy the mountain tops, Lewis, the marshmallows of your life. Yet, when they inevitably disintegrate and you find yourself in the valley, remember to drink in God’s milk to make it a little easier to swallow.
Right now, are you on a mountain top or in a valley? Do you cling to mountain tops? How do you cope with the rough times in the valley?
Share your story and encourage others by leaving a comment below, or by joining the conversation on Facebook.
Sabrena Klausman earned her Bachelor of Arts from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 1997 and has served more than fifteen years as a pastor’s wife, church planter, and curriculum-writer. Together with her husband, she co-founded a nonprofit organization, Faceless Productions, Inc., which specializes in church curriculum, leadership training, and the establishment of human trafficking safe houses. Sabrena resides in Arkansas with her husband Brad and her two lovely children. Sabrena’s first book, Zombie Christian, the sacred undead, is available from Tate Publishing at https://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781632682277.