Posted by: glorifyhim1 | April 4, 2011

The Cake

I love to bake – cakes, pies, cookies, breads – and I’m willing to give most recipes a try although they may not always turn out the way I’m hoping. But I do have my tried and true favorite recipes that I feel I can always turn to that will always turn out just right – well, just about always – or at least sometimes! For some reason my most trusted cake recipes seem to do just fine unless I’m baking one of them for some special event or gathering.

Just this weekend my husband asked me to make my chocolate fudge cake for his birthday. My recipe for this cake is tried and true and one that I have baked for years – every Christmas and occasionally throughout the year for special occasions. I immediately gathered all the ingredients and set out to create the perfect birthday cake. I beamed to myself as I removed two perfectly rounded cake layers from the oven and placed them on the counter to cool. Then I proceeded to mix the ingredients for the frosting. And, alas, thus ended my perfect cake dream!

Although this is the same fudge frosting I’ve made over and over countless times, it just would not thicken to the right consistency. I repeated all the steps in my mind. I stirred and stirred. I finally chilled it until I thought it was finally thick enough, but I found I didn’t need to spread it on the cake. All I had to do was pour it on the top and watch it run down the sides and pool on the edges of the plate. What a mess I thought to myself! Finally, I managed to make it halfway presentable and I shoved it in the fridge to try to keep it that way!

As I thought about it, I realized that life can be a lot like my chocolate cake. In spite of all our big dreams and high aspirations, life happens. We have bills to pay, illnesses to battle, and relationships to mend. Often sorrow, worries, and troubles can flood and roll over us just like the frosting on my cake. Oftentimes our lives may bear little resemblance to the life we had hoped for or imagined. Yet just like my chocolate cake, regardless of the mess we may find ourselves in, we have to keep struggling to work things out and make it work. Life is not a “do over,” but “a keep on going.”

We are all imperfect people with imperfect lives. The Bible is filled with stories of imperfect people just like you and me. King David, the most revered king of God’s people, was one of these imperfect people. Even after becoming a godly, revered leader, he committed adultery with Bathsheba and carefully planned the death of her husband. His family was likewise riddled with trouble, sexual sin, and murder. His life at the end probably looked very different from the kind of life he envisioned when he was anointed as a shepherd boy to become the future king of God’s people. Yet, in spite of his imperfection, God used David mightily to rule and lead His people. “He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all my will’” (Acts 13:22). And, furthermore, “From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior – Jesus” (Acts 13:23).

Although David’s life was far from perfect and there were probably many things we wished he could “take back” or “do over,” he kept on going. He didn’t give up. Neither did he allow his past sins and mistakes to determine the kind of man he would become. Instead he confessed his sin and sought the Lord’s forgiveness. He begged for God’s mercy and prayed for His cleansing, deliverance, and restoration. (See Psalm 51.)  He cried to God: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). David knew he had failed, but he also knew that God could forgive him and change him.

This is God’s desire for all of us. He knows we are imperfect. He knows we mess up. Yet He looks for hearts that truly seek Him. As David prayed: “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:16-17). The psalmist reminds us: “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy” (Psalm 147:11). When we mess up, we need to turn to God, confess our sin, and pray for His forgiveness and restoration. Then with the fresh touch of God’s forgiveness, we keep on going, seeking His direction and help.

When it was time to set out my cake for my husband’s birthday celebration, I soon discovered that my family didn’t seem to mind the way it looked.  “Oh – your chocolate fudge cake!” “This is really good,” said my husband, “thank you!” I looked at my imperfect cake and I looked at the sweet faces of those I loved. They were able to look beyond the way my cake looked to what was inside. Isn’t that the same thing God does for us when we just come to Him the way we are? I look back over our birthday celebration with a smile, content with the way things worked out in spite of my funny-looking cake. In the same way, we can look back over our lives and smile. Even if they don’t turn out exactly like we hoped or dreamed, we can still smile – because we will be able to see the handprint of God over every little detail – every sin He covered and every beautiful mark He left with His amazing grace!

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