I mentioned in my last post that I've been reading Barbara Johnson's book "Pack Up Your Gloomees in a Great Big Box and Sit on the Lid and Laugh". Mrs. Johnson has lost two sons--one in Viet Nam, one in a car accident. Her third son disowned his family and faith, changed his name, and disappeared into the gay lifestyle for 11 years (he has since returned to the Lord). She knows a little bit about suffering and hard times! She has a paragraph in her book titled "Suffering Is Like Baking a Cake", and I'd like to quote it here:
"I like to compare suffering to making a cake. No one sits down, gets out a box of baking powder, eats a big spoonful, and says, "Hmmmm, that's good!" And you don't do that with a spoonful of shortening or raw eggs or flour, either. The tribulation and suffering in our lives can be compared with swallowing a spoonful of baking powder or shortening. By themselves these things are distasteful and they turn your stomach. But God takes all of these ingredients, stirs them up, and puts them in His own special oven. He knows just how long to let the cake bake; sometimes it stays in God's oven for YEARS. We get impatient and want to open the oven, thinking Surely the cake must be done by now. But not yet, no not yet. What really matters is that the cake is BAKING and the marvelous aroma is filling the house.
I find that people who trust God with their suffering have an invisible something, like the invisible aroma of a freshly baked cake, that draws people to them. As Paul put it, "all things [all the ingredients of pain and suffering] work together for good to them that love God" (Rom. 8:28).
When we believe that nothing comes to us except through our Heavenly Father, then suffering begins to make a little sense to us--not much, I admit, but a little bit, and that's all God needs to work in our lives, just a mustard seed of faith. Then we can see that God is using our pain to work something in us that is redemptive. Every trial or broken relationship goes into God's oven and eventually we begin to "smell" like cake or fresh bread. Even our suffering counts for something!"
Isn't that good? It's great to know that God can take our suffering and our hard times and make something beautiful of them!
We will be sharing the story of our "cake baking" this Sunday evening at 6:00 at New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church in Benton...please pray that God will continue to use Hannah's story to draw people to Himself.