Back in May, I took my granddaughter to an event at Phoenix Park in Thurnscoe which involved learning about nature and outdoor life. We got to hunt bugs (which neither of us particularly liked, interesting and informative though this was!) and learn about different trees, and then at the end, the rangers in charge showed us how to toast marshmallows and make popcorn. (It’s a sad reflection of our interests that we found this much more interesting than the bug-hunting!)

I had never made popcorn before, probably because I’m not that fond of it. I know it’s the staple diet of many at the cinema, but I find popcorn chewy and tasteless, so I had never really bothered with it before. I was surprised to see the size of the kernels before we roasted them; they looked so small and insignificant.

Once heated, however, the kernels expanded to become the more familiar size:

All that was needed to transform the kernels into edible popcorn was heat. And that reminds me that sometimes our faith gets heated up from the fires of life, from the troubles and traumas which the Bible describes as ‘refining’ our faith (1 Pet 1:3-7), and what seems so small and insignificant becomes something sturdy and solid. I don’t really think faith is like popcorn, but I do think that the ‘heat’ of life has the potential to build our faith rather than destroy it, if we will accept God’s refining trials.