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About the Writer:

Nancy chooses to look at life as opportunities to know more about God's people and desires to pass on His unfailing love to those around her. As a young widow with growing children, Nancy's life experiences are a blend of hope through hard times and faith that has moved mountains in her life. Her writings are effective storytelling with humor, biblical insight and deep compassion.


The Green Bean Explosion

By Nancy Hughes

Who would have thought that a canner full of green beans in the heat of July would teach a lesson in faith? Well, it might not…unless the canner was accompanied by a large explosion. Let me explain.
One of my favorite activities in July is canning vegetables from my garden. My rationale for canning is simple: instant gratification and great taste. Pulling the jars out of my canner gives me immediate results for all the hard garden work. In addition, I love to cook with a jar of beans or tomato sauce in the winter when everyone else grabs a can of not-so-fresh vegetables from the supermarket. This summer, however, I was unprepared for the extra bonus I received.

My morning routine of cleaning and scalding jars and rings for the process was the same as the morning before. Everything was laid out in order: freshly washed  vegetables, salt, clean jars and rings, new lids, tongs to pull jars out of the boiling water, hot pads and mitts. All was ready. And my routine was the same as it had been for years: fill the jars, add water, salt, lids and rings, tighten and put in the canner. Nothing unusual about that. After I filled the canner with jars, I tightened its lid and watched the closed gauge on the top as it climbed to 10 pounds pressure. I set the timer, knowing that in 20 minutes, I would have jars of green beans completed and ready to store.

I walked into the living room and lay down on the carpet to play with 9 month old Ella when an explosion with the force of a land mine shook my entire house! My first instinct was to protect Ella so I grabbed her and ran to the doorway of the kitchen to see exactly what had happened. I was stunned to see the sight before me. My canner had exploded, shooting glass from the broken jars and green beans throughout the kitchen and covering everything in their path. The lid of the canner had shot upward into the ceiling and carved a three-foot hole before coming back down and digging a two-inch deep scar in the side of my refrigerator. On its ascent the lid had taken out the vent above the stove and the stove itself. On the way down it managed to blow up the microwave. The scalding water had made a pattern on the ceiling similar to someone throwing a can of paint against a white wall.

Calls to family members and the insurance agency brought them to my home immediately along with reassurance that everything would be okay. Friends help sweep up glass and green beans. The insurance agent reiterated to me that everything would be taken care of while he repeated over and over that in all his 30+ years of being in insurance, he had never seen an explosion like this one. And his “If you had been in the kitchen, you would have been killed.” comment did nothing to settle my nerves.
That evening as I prepared to go to bed, I knelt down and whispered “Father, thank you so much for protecting me and for protecting Ella.” The Lord spoke directly to my heart and said “Nancy, I’ve been protecting you for years. This is just the first time I’ve allowed you to see.”

Have you ever wondered if our Father truly knows what is happening here on earth? If He is really in control of everything going on around you? Well, rest assured that He does know and He is in control of all things. The Psalms are full of His encouragement to hold on and trust Him in every situation. Psalm 27:1, 2 says “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” (NIV) We read in Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him and I am helped.” (NIV)  And what about Psalm 46:1, 2 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” (NIV) I love Psalm 121:1-3 “I lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber…” (NIV)

We have no idea how many times the Lord has had a hand in keeping a car from crossing the center line, a thief from entering a home, or a gun from misfiring. But I can tell you about a Father who kept a canner from blowing up 20 seconds earlier than it did. And a woman who is very thankful that her Father allowed her, just once, to see His protection in her life.

Copyright © August, 2008 – Nancy Hughes. All rights reserved.


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