We all love a good cake –a satisfying symphony of flavors, texture, decadence, and a visual show of creativity and affection. Whether at a birthday party, baby shower, or wedding, we all look forward to that highlight moment of indulging in a slice of heavenly sweetness (for it is almost not a celebration without it).
If you enjoy baking like me, you’re aware of the time and precision it takes to make a cake. Likewise, our Maker is very specific with every detail that characterizes the journey of our lives.
With all our hearts, we want God to use us. We want to serve others and bring the joy of our faith to their lives. Before that can happen though, God must take us through a necessary process to form us into vessels He can use for His ultimate, divine purpose. Every event, both the good and the bad, plays a vital role in that process. But often we complain about the very circumstances God allows to happen for our benefit.
Sometimes we experience change, like moving from one state to the next. Sometimes we face bullies or battle depression and anxiety. Can even these things work together for good?
Betrayal, a Lie, and Imprisonment = Good?
Most of you are familiar with the story of Joseph, one of my favorite stories in the Bible. He was his father’s favorite son, and consequently, was sold to Ishmaelite slave traders by his envious brothers at the tender age of seventeen.
But God gave Joseph favor even as a slave, and Potiphar placed him in charge over everything he owned. Just when circumstances began improving for Joseph, Potiphar’s wife lied about him, and he was thrown into Pharaoh’s dungeon. While in prison, he interpreted the dream of Pharaoh’s butler, who repaid his kindness by forgetting all about him.
Despite all the unfortunate things that happened to Joseph, he remained steadfast in his faith, daring to trust God even when it did not make sense.
After two more long years of disappointment in the prison, Joseph was finally released when Pharaoh had two disturbing dreams, and no one was able to interpret them. In a time of selfish uncertainty, the butler’s memory suddenly returned, and he spoke up.
At once, Pharaoh sent for Joseph. “Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.’” (Genesis 41:16). And God did! Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph’s wisdom and interpretation of his dream that he made him prime minister over the entire nation.
When Pharaoh’s dream came to pass, famine ravished the land. God used Joseph to rescue many lives and ultimately preserve Judah, from whom the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, would descend. In the end, God made all things work together for good –the betrayal, the lie, even the imprisonment were all steppingstones to his divine calling.
Every Ingredient Serves God’s Purpose
Now back to the cake. Do all the ingredients of a cake taste good by themselves? If you have ever eaten baking soda by itself, you most likely spat it out. Why add it into the cake batter if it tastes so bitter?Most of us want our lives to be a bowl of butter and powdered sugar, so when God starts adding other ingredients, like baking soda, we instinctively reject them. Click To Tweet
Most of us want our lives to be a bowl of butter and powdered sugar, so when God starts adding other ingredients, like baking soda, we instinctively reject them.
Why is He combining raw flour, baking soda, and salt? Yuck! Why is He creaming the butter and sugar for what seems like an eternity? Can’t He just dump all the ingredients together and get mixing? The answer is no.
He is waiting for your butter and eggs to reach room temperature, so you don’t curdle. He is adding only one egg at a time, so you can incorporate smoothly. He is alternating between the dry and wet ingredients, so you don’t come out lumpy.
Just when you think He is done with you because you start tasting like the finished product, you find yourself collapsing under the heat of the oven. It’s blazing hot and it’s painful, but you must go down before you can go up!You must prove yourself in the pit and the prison before God can promote you to the palace. You must endure the cross before you can receive the crown. You must be baked before you can be served. Click To Tweet
You must prove yourself in the pit and the prison before God can promote you to the palace. You must endure the cross before you can receive the crown. You must be baked before you can be served.
The Bible tells us that God refines us in the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10). It feels like it’s burning you, but it’s baking you! The very heat you despise is activating the baking soda and causing you to rise. That disgusting raw egg you fought with everything inside you is stabilizing you.
Now you’re starting to see that the Baker knew what He was doing all along. And now that you’ve been baked, you’re ready to serve your purpose. You’re ready to be frosted, decorated, and displayed at the next celebration, bringing joy to everyone you come in contact with.We must trust God’s recipe because He is orchestrating our lives according to His good plan. Click To Tweet
We must trust God’s recipe because He is orchestrating our lives according to His good plan.
God Doesn’t Waste a Thing
Raw flour? Yes. Baking soda? Yes. The good, the bad, the ugly? Yes!
God isn’t wasting your suffering. He loves you. He has called you, chosen you, and He’s measuring every step and detail of your life because He knows how to make all ingredients work together for good.
Will you, like Joseph, remain steadfast in your faith and dare to trust God even when it does not make sense?
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).