“God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 ERV)
I pulled out my recipe for snicker doodles, an old-time favorite for the holidays. As I put in the shortening, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla, the recipe said to blend until creamy. My mind flashed to when I first learned how to bake, back in the day when cake mixes were a novelty or used for last minute church suppers.
The kitchen was my mother’s paradise, and her instructions were gospel. To deter meant banishment.
First: “Wash your hands. No good cook comes to the kitchen with dirty hands.”
Next: “Now read the recipe, and put all the ingredients on the counter.”
Third: The step my mother considered the most crucial: “cream the shortening, butter, eggs and sugars.”
I stuck in the rotary beaters, set the mixer on high and splashed wet globs from one end of the kitchen to the other. “Done,” I said after my efforts produced an incohesive mess.
Mother knew better, knew I was always in a hurry to get to the end of a project. “Nope. It’s too grainy. Set the beater on low, scrape the sides frequently, fold the batter together, and repeat. Let time and the ingredients do their magic.”
Reluctantly, I started again, following her directions and blowing out my frustration all the while. “This takes too long.”
“If you hurry the creaming,” Mother warned, “the cookies will come out crumbly and tasteless. Creaming is what makes them chewy and delectable. Don’t rush the creaming. It takes time, but the result is worth the effort.”
I slowed down and watched with wonder as the goo gradually transformed into a creamy, light texture before my eyes.
As I carefully creamed for the snicker doodles, Mother’s words came back to me. I thought about our instant society, how we crave immediate results, the growing tendency to hurry through life in the fastest checkout line. In our haste, we blunder through the mix of it all, leaving globs of broken dreams in the muck of our speed.
Forgiveness is immediate when we ask; however, the impact of our sin and poor choices leave us with unblended ingredients. God will and does take all the conflicting areas of our lives and transforms us into something beautiful.
However, I am often too impatient to wait for the Holy Spirit to do his work. I rush to find my own solution, the quick fix. When I do, I end up with a big mess, such as hurt feelings or financial mistakes to clean up. I scold myself, “Why were you in such a hurry when God had a plan all along?”
The Lord has given us his recipe for a rich, textured life. If we take the time to cream it, not be satisfied with grainy goo or toss it aside because of its unpleasantness –– if we repeatedly scrape, fold, and beat at the Holy Spirit’s prodding, the grimy gook of our shattered hopes will become that creamed foundation that awakens the flavor of our human experience.