We recently celebrated Gemma’s birthday. Apart from buying each other birthday gifts each year, Gemma and I always secretly visit the supermarket to get each other a birthday cake, which we conceal until the special day arrives. This year I was pleased to find a particularly colourful sponge cake, artistically decorated with soft icing flowers. Gemma loves bright colours. On arriving home, to avoid Gemma seeing me carrying the cake into the house, I put it carefully in my backpack and, once inside, took it upstairs to find a safe hiding place. To my dismay, when I removed the cake from my backpack, I discovered that it had slid within its box and some of the icing was now squashed and unrecognisable. It was spoiled.
I gazed at the cake wondering if there was any way I could repair it. I tried without success to remould the squashed icing with the point of a knife. It looked even worse. Then I remembered that we had a ‘Happy Birthday’ cake decoration in a kitchen drawer downstairs. After fetching and placing it over the damaged icing I wondered if I might, after all, be able to restore some measure of beauty to the cake. I searched on the internet and discovered that you can buy ready-made edible flower decorations for cakes. A week later, when Gemma’s birthday arrived, I was able to present her with the cake, the marks of my mishandling covered and hidden by the colourful and eye-catching yellow and red edible roses I had bought from the internet.
My experience above, with its blessing of stretching my creativity in cake decorating, spoke so much to me of the way that Jesus can take the messes in our lives and give us His beauty in place of our brokenness. It’s something I’ve experienced and am still experiencing in my own life. The wonderful thing is that the beauty that Jesus wants to bring to each of our lives, as we yield them to Him, is far more than some superficial covering over of our mess. It’s change, from the inside out, through the work of His Spirit in our hearts.
I’d love to say that the transformation of our hearts by the Holy Spirit is easy or instantaneous. It often involves pain as our wounds are exposed and touched, and our independence and sinfulness are challenged, but it’s worth the struggle of persevering and clinging to the Lord to experience it.
Maybe today you’re very conscious of messes and spoilt places in your life. Be encouraged that, in the safe and loving hands of Jesus, they can be transformed like that damaged vessel in the hands of the potter, into something beautiful.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, like a child bringing their broken things to their Daddy, I come to You with the broken places of my heart and life. Please mould and restore me to be the person You want me to be. In Your Name I pray. Amen.
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