Our grandson got lots of presents. He didn't really care about the gifts all that much but he sure like tearing up the wrapping paper. And the tissue paper? Forget about it!
All the adults had their snacks and beverages of various kinds and there was a lot of laughter. But our grandson wasn't getting as much satisfaction. He had some Goldfish crackers and a tippy cup with some milk in it but that was about it. That's when his mom brought out . . . the big cake!
Everybody was excited to see the cake. Everybody except our grandson. He actually had no idea what it was. He'd never seen one before. Suddenly his mom was taking off his shirt and putting him in the high chair. He did NOT want to be in that chair!
Then our grandson's mom put a piece of cake on the tray in front of him. Nope! Not interested. He spent more time dismantling it than tasting it. Even when his mom put a fork full of cake up to his lips he refused. He turned his head from side to side. ANYTHING to keep that cake away from his mouth. But then mom scored a direct hit and got some of the frosting on his lips. That's when our grandson's life-long opinion about cake changed.
He opened up his mouth like a little bird and in went the first piece of cake our grandson had ever eaten. Guess what? He really liked it and wanted more! And forget about the fork. Let's just grab big handfuls of cake and shove them in!
Oops! It looks like, what with all the excitement about eating cake, some of our grandson's cake accidentally dropped some onto the floor, into his lap, onto his chair. So much cake had found a new place to hide that, after he was done "eating" his cake, it was time to take a bath!!
It didn't occur to me until this week, some six months later, just what a wonderful example this real-life cake eating event was. A perfect example of our walk with Christ.
First, The Parable of the Grandson and the Piece of Cake. How like each of us and our relationship with Jesus. Our reluctance to repent, to seek God's forgiveness, and to make Jesus Lord of our lives, is exactly where our grandson before he got a taste. We fight so hard for our independence from "religion" and "surrender" that we never stop to think it could be the best thing we've ever had. Surrendering is difficult for many. It's contrary to how most of us were raised.
"8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" - Psalm 34:8
But once we do surrender, once we do repent of our ways and turn to Jesus, it's like our grandson and that first taste of cake. The taste was sweet and he desired more. Our grandson became excited about his cake, just as we became excited when we first came to believe.
Remember our hunger for The Word? Remember all of the books we bought? We desired anything and everything we could get our hands on. Anything that had to do with Jesus. We were voraciously hungry!!
The second simile that occurred to me from this, the Great Cake story, was The Parable of the Wise Parents. The "coming out" party was pre-planned, well ahead of time. They knew our grandson was going to make a mess out of things. They had everything all figured out. And so it is with God. He already knows we're going to deny Him just like Peter did. He already knows how messy we're going to make things in our lives. Yet he loves us and takes care of our every need.
"11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11
Oh, I almost forgot. There is one more similarity between our grandson's first birthday party and the eating of his first birthday cake. It's what happened AFTER he ate the cake. His mess was cleaned up. There wasn't even a hint of cake left! Our grandson was washed clean just like we were when WE came to believe. May it be so in the lives of our children and our children's children.
Thank you Lord for loving us despite our messiness. Thank you for calling us to yourself, though our lives might be filled with crumbled cake on our faces. Thank you for washing us clean through the sacrifice of your Son. It is nothing that WE have done, Lord. It's all you. We thank you and praise you, in your holy and matchless name. Amen.
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me." - Psalm 51:1-3