Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tapioca-Who Knew?

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This week I made tapioca pudding—my husband’s favorite dessert. The pudding is certainly easy enough to make, with the convenience of boxed granules and a microwave.

If you look at the ingredient label on real tapioca, not the pearled version derived from potato starch, you will see two words: cooked tapioca. There's a reason the comforting word "cooked" appears, because uncooked tapioca is poisonous.

"Tapioca" is a word of South American Indian origin. The name applies to a food derived from the root of bitter cassava. According to Latin American tradition, a Spanish explorer, heard from the natives about the highly poisonous sap of the cassava plant. Later, lost in the jungles of Brazil, the suffering man preferred a quick death to one of fever and starvation, so he boiled cassava roots for his last meal.

Instead of dying, he lived to tell the world how this pleasant, digestible food saved his life. The application of heat removed the poison from the sap. The cassava plant is widely known as "yucca" or "manioc." Fortunately, something poisonous changed into a benefit.

One scripture I often hear spoken as a comfort to troubled people is Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him . . .." Over the centuries, this verse has proven to be true on several levels. One of the good things God works for his children is aiding them to become like Jesus, with genuine love for God and neighbors. This is most likely the greatest promise connected with this scripture.

For many, this promise of good coming out of all things has been a rescue, the floating plank from a shipwreck. Drowning Christians have climbed up on this promise and waited to see what good would come from their experienced misfortune.

Or others have clung to the plank for the rest of their lives and in their judgement never saw the promise of good come from personal disasters. But the glitch is human eyes, scanning a very short time frame. God sees from Eden to end and knows the best timing for "good" things to happen.

Sometimes, it's not in his immediate plan for us to glimpse the turn-around. But our human nature, often accompanied by plenty of misery, asks when and how will this "good" arrive? But our most important work is to believe the Promise Maker.

Every day God is dishing out hope. Today, may be your day. Somehow, he may be turning a poison in your world into a life-support.

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