Thursday, April 11, 2013

God's Timing and Underdone Cupcakes

I stood there in front of my little country church and told the entire congregation that I felt like I was called to full time ministry. I was around 15 or 16, I guess; and I just knew I was going to change the world....probably before I was an old woman of 25.

Last night, I stood in the back of my church listening to two other young women who were ready to dedicate their lives to full-time ministry; and I saw myself all those years ago. Both so young and eager and ready to change the world - RIGHT NOW! Patience and waiting, well...they'd work on that later.

It seems I've had the same conversation over the past week with a number of young women, all of them ranging in age from 15 - 27, impatient with the waiting process. They were either frustrated with the fact that they weren't farther along with what they felt God had for them, or they are chomping at the bit to get started!

I just have to laugh. I remember being where they are now....I wanted to do great things for God, but the thing is, I wasn't ready..... not in my twenties, or my thirties, or even my forties! Here I am in my 50's and I think I am just now getting started!

Why is it that we think we're supposed to be "doing" great things for God and if we aren't doing them by the time we're 25 (or 18) then we're behind schedule? We tend to forget that even Jesus didn't begin His ministry till He was 30! Personally, I'm nowhere nearly as advanced as Jesus. 

Plus, why do I think that the daily living I am doing somehow isn't full time ministry? Doesn't the Bible say something about WHATEVER you do, do it as unto the Lord? Every Christian can look at life as full-time ministry. Oh, it may not have the title "missionary" in front of it, but it's full time all the same...and sometimes it's preparing us for something, something greater than we'd ever imagined.

So what does all this have to do with cupcakes? Well, the other day, my daughter decided to make some cupcakes. The idea was great. She did all the mixing, filled the tins, and stuck them in the oven. Then came the really hard part - waiting. Like most teenagers, my daughter isn't all that good at waiting....or following directions. She overfilled the tins and before long the batter was rising over the edges and in danger of making a major mess. Her answer was simple - go ahead and pull them out of the oven despite the fact they weren't yet done in the middle!

The cupcakes were.....disappointing. We had all set our mouths to be ready for cupcakes and instead we got some sort of gooey, doughy mess. (Yes, I did try to eat one. I love cupcakes and I am a bit impatient myself. I did, however, put the rest back into the oven to finish the cooking process!)

Serving God, in this instance, is a bit like baking cupcakes. You've got to do the prep work, and then you have to WAIT. Waiting isn't doing nothing. It is allowing God to take what He's put into you and "cook" it till it's ready for those around you. If we get impatient, the result is an underdone cupcake. We're disappointed and so is everyone else. They hoped for cupcakes and what they got was half-cooked batter! 

We don't need to beat ourselves up or get frustrated either. As we "wait", we also serve, helping others achieve the dreams God has placed in their lives. When the time is right, the timer will "ding" and we'll move into that "dream" God placed in our heart all those years ago....only it'll be far better than what we'd ever imagined, and probably a whole lot different, too.

God knows the plans He has for you...and He knows the people He has for you to touch. If we run ahead, those we are supposed to help won't even be there yet! God isn't constrained to "time" as we know it...and I've never seen Him be late. (Of course, I don't remember Him being early either!)

As I looked into the eyes of that 15 year old at church and listened to her dreams, I flashed back to myself at her age. I had no idea that the "dream" might have to cook for almost 40 years, but that's okay. I figure that just means God must be planning on me being here for a while - for there is still much to be done. I have no doubt these precious young women will do great things because of their love for Christ, and one day they will share this same nugget of truth with some other young His time.

Happy baking my friends.

(In case you wondered, I'm not done with the stories from Cambodia...there is still much to share!)

Psalm 37:7

The Voice (VOICE)
Be still. Be patient. Expect the Eternal to arrive and set things right.

Lamentations 3:25

The Message (MSG)
25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
    to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
    quietly hope for help fromGod.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
    to stick it out through the hard times.


Debra Mauldin said...

You are such a blessing to so many, many people! Surely you realize, as I do, that He is using you every day, in every way, with every one you encounter! Love you, Donna Jackson Sumrall!

Jennie said...

Remember Moses. He ran away @ 40 years old to stay in ' the back side of the desert ', then when he was 80, yes, 80 years old, began his ministry, apparently fairly reluctantly...I'd say you're a bit ahead of him. Be encouraged!

Donna said...

Jennie, I thought about Moses too! Wish I'd thought about him in time to include it in the original post, but it was already getting a bit long so I guess it's best that I didn't! LOL