rules_that_perfect2My friend Lily is an expert rice cooker: she is Chinese, grew up in Southeast Asia, and has, as she puts it, been cooking rice since before some of the rest of us were born. Further, she is a well-seasoned professional dietitian and caterer.

Knowing that our friend Carol’s husband, who has special dietary requirements, enjoyed brown rice, Lily suggested that an electric rice cooker would ease Carol’s burdened schedule. Eagerly, Carol purchased one.

It seemed simple enough: put the desired amount of rice into the cooker, add the required ratio of water, plug in the cord, press the “ON” lever, and tend to her other responsibilities while the rice cooked—unattended—to perfection. But Carol’s first rice cooker experience was a disaster: gummy rice water boiled over onto the counter and dripped down the cabinet doors onto the kitchen floor. The cleanup she faced brought her no ease; she told Lily so.

Lily knew that Carol’s attempt to cook a full measure of brown rice in a cooker designed for cooking white rice had created the problem. The extra water brown rice requires had overfilled the cooker as well as disturbed the cooker’s moisture sensor. Together, that triggered extended cooking and a prolonged boil over.

From Lily’s wealth of rice cooking experience, she had ready solutions for preventing future messy problems: presoak the rice before cooking so it requires less water; don’t overfill the cooker; place a pair of chopsticks on top of the cooker to make a bridge upon which to rest the lid—the gap between cooker and lid would be just sufficient to help prevent boil over.

Although they initially sounded like arbitrary rules—additions to her overloaded chore list—Carol soon discovered that the guidelines were helpful measures offered by a caring friend who understood the nuances of cooking rice.

Expression of Care

God’s law is also an expression of care from a loving Friend who understands our makeup and the nuances of relationships, although sometimes we mistakenly perceive that law as a set of legalistic, restrictive, obsolete rules.

In Psalm 19:7-10, the Psalmist reveals this regarding God’s law:

“The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.
The life maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.
God’s reputation is twenty-four carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.
God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries.”

Following the expert rules of a pro results in perfectly cooked brown rice; a child of God is protected and perfected by following the rules of a loving heavenly Father.