Christian Living


A Chocolate Cake Faith

CBN.com My mother makes a yellow layer cake with an amazing chocolate-fudge icing. If you saw it, you’d probably wonder why I call it “amazing”—because it is never pretty! In fact, our family has dubbed it “the ugly cake.”

Instead of standing up in fluffy swirls, her frosting is hard and somewhat lumpy. Mother doesn’t follow a recipe or have a definable technique for her icing. She simply stirs up some ingredients and cooks it until it looks right, and then she pours it on the cake. Sometimes it flows freely over the layers and forms a smooth covering, but other times it clumps up too soon and barely covers the cake. Mother never knows what will happen.

But no one in the family cares. We can’t wait to get a slice because we know the flavor will be delicious. We have faith in the promise of the cake no matter how it looks. Because our family has grown, Mom now makes two cakes so that everyone gets a slice. In fact, we fight over the corner pieces (did you know you can get four or more corner pieces from a round cake?) because those pieces have the most icing. Mom’s grandson Munroe even wanted ugly cake for the groom’s cake at his and Leslie’s wedding… and Mom made it for him. It didn’t look like a professional bakery cake, but as soon as the reception started and the first person to try it spread the word, guests gathered around the table to make sure they got a slice.

Ugly cake is not made to look at; it is made to be shared and enjoyed. In the same way, when we have an assured and confident faith, its richness draws our friends into our hearts and offers sweet comfort and help.

Lending Faith
Pam and Ken tried everything to conceive a baby, but medical problems prevented them from getting pregnant. It was hard to give up their dream of having a biological family, but after praying and talking, they decided to look into adoption.

Years of home studies, personality profiles, and questionnaires followed, and their hope for an adopted baby became as real and precious as their hope for a birth child had been. Finally, after painting their nursery and putting together the crib, adoption day arrived. Pam loaded the new diaper bag, car seat, and an outfit for the new baby into the car just as the telephone rang.

“We are so sorry, but the birth mother has changed her mind. She wants to keep her baby,” the adoption agency manager said.

In that single moment, Pam’s dream disintegrated. Why is God letting this happen?

When I heard Pam and Ken’s news, I drove straight to their house. Pam sat in a recliner, an afghan pulled up to her eyes. I didn’t know what to do, so I sat on the sofa and silently prayed, Father, Pam’s faith has been wounded today. She is devastated. Since her faith wavers just now and mine is strong, I ask You to lend her my faith.

I knew that someday, after the numbing shock, gut wrenching pain, and grief had worn off, Pam’s faith would grow strong and robust again. Her trust in God would be renewed following this unthinkable heartbreak. But I also knew that today Pam was on an emotional roller coaster—climbing to a peak in anticipation of the baby, then plunging headlong into grief. Her mind was in turmoil. She questioned God, wondering why He had allowed her pain. She might even be speculating about His ability to keep His promises or trying to think up a reason for this punishment or begging God for a sign that He loved her.

During those hours of agony, I asked God to lend her my faith—until hers had recovered.

I never told anyone about my prayer. Many years later, Pam and I talked about that dreadful day. She remembered that I didn’t quote Scripture or try to offer a solution. She told me, “I can still see you sitting on that sofa. I looked at you and felt braver because of your strong faith.”

God had answered my quiet prayer. When Pam’s faith weakened, I held strong so she wouldn’t lose hope. In those hours of grief, God allowed me to offer a slice of chocolate-laced faith to Pam.

When friends experience disasters, death, sickness, or financial problems, we can slice off a piece of our strong faith and offer it to them at a time when their faith is at its weakest.

When we meet trouble head-on, the strength of our faith radiates to our girlfriends and causes their faith to grow. Like chocolate icing between each layer, our faith is held together by love and compassion. If I am strong in my faith, I am able to offer my friend my strength.

With those layers stacked firmly together and coated with love and mercy, God will use me to bring Him close to a girlfriend whose heart is broken.

You may not think your faith is all that strong. I don’t feel strong in my faith either, but what we must remember is that faith is a process. Just as baking a cake begins with mixing ingredients together, so faith continues to be a journey away from the theology of “me, me, me” to a recipe with God as the Great Mixer who combines a smidgen of belief and a cup of doubt with a pound of Bible study and a pinch of prayer.

My faith is stronger than it used to be, but not as strong as it will be if I stop making myself the object of my faith and concentrate on Christ Jesus Himself. As you add each tiny pinch of faith to your personal recipe, God will strengthen you into a person of strong faith layers.

Faith unlocks the mysteries of Christian living. Faith pleases God.

Strength from a Friend
When I broke my leg in that skiing accident, I couldn’t walk, but soon my other leg became stronger so that I could stand with my crutches. My arms gained strength as I used them to pull myself around. My other body parts tried to make up for the broken part until it mended.

When trouble strikes a friend, it requires the rest of us to be stronger than ever. We become strong legs and arms holding her up until she can walk again. Remember that Truth Talk is how we know she needs help, and our strong faith is what we offer her. When God seems far away, a friend with deep faith brings Him closer.

Believing is not just a matter of words; it involves the way we live. Is your faith strong enough for those around you? Can you lift bread, or chocolate, before a starving girlfriend? Do you know what you believe? If so, you’ll build chocolate-layer-cake friendships. Everything else is just icing.

Dear Lord, help me lend my faith to others like rich, comforting slices of chocolate layer cake.

Adapted from I'll Bring the Chocolate © 2007 by Karen Porter. Used by permission of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. Excerpt may not be reproduced without prior written consent.

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