Ph’o (Psalms 119:119)

The tantalizing aroma filled the room as our friend warmed her speciality dish in preparation to serve us. Ph’o is familiar to many people who enjoy Vietnamese food. My family has had it many times but this time, it was very special. 

As our friend reminded us, “A good Ph’o has an absolutely clear broth with no oil or fat droplets.” To accomplish this, every few minutes, she would painstakingly skim the fat droplets from the surface until after many hours, the broth was completely transparent. The result was this culinary masterpiece of Vietnamese cuisine, a far cry from the unoriginal Ph’o that I had previously eaten at restaurants. 

With many soups and broths, it is essential to skim the fat to perfect the dish. Many people do a cursory skim and do not have the patience to do what our friend so carefully did. It was a tribute to her mother who lovingly taught her how to prepare this dish and a display of affection she had for us, desirous for us to enjoy the fruits of her labor.

You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum; no wonder I love to obey your laws! 

Psalms 119:119 (NLT)

In these difficult days, it may seem like God is helpless or does not care. Why doesn’t God end the COVID pandemic? Why doesn’t he help the millions suffering under totalitarian regimes? Simply because we do not physically see God, does not mean He is not working in this world. God, the Holy Spirit, is actively working in the spiritual realm, unseen by our eyes. He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent and is skimming off the undesirable qualities of our world that hinder us from seeing Him work. It is not just in the world, it is within our lives. Like the unwanted fat in Ph’o, the scum of our lives encompasses everything from sinful lusts and desires that we harbor to the resentment we feel from the undeserved snide remark directed to us from a total stranger. We cannot understand how God does it, but we should be thankful that He is doing it. Like the painstaking care that my friend took to remove the scum in her Ph’o, we should be grateful for God’s grace and mercy in our lives, as He skims off the sins of the world and our lives, transforming and conforming us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Amen!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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