Monday, April 1, 2013

Following Instructions

I am not the adventurous sort. I wish I was. I look at the brave souls who step out ahead of the crowd, willing to do the hard, challenging thing and, cheer from the sidelines. I'm the one who is good at following instructions. Turn around and there I am, following at a safe distance.

It spills over into every area of my life, this timidity, this need to be in control and sure that all will be well. My Mom asked me to bake the cake for the Easter dinner she was preparing. It was one I'd never baked before - a Ricotta Cheese Cake. She dictated the recipe to me over the phone and wished me well. It had been years since she made one, and she wasn't quite sure exactly how it went. But it would be fine, she assured me.

It turns out it wasn't difficult at all. However there was a tricky little secret. The cake batter went in first. Then you carefully spooned the cheese mixture on top, covering the batter completely. Pop it in the oven, and like magic the two layers switch places. When the cake is done, the cheese will be on the bottom and the cake on top.

I followed the instructions very carefully (I am not one to wing it in the kitchen - or anywhere else for that matter) and placed the cake in the oven. I admit, there was serious doubt about that switching places thing. I kept turning on the oven light to see if it was happening, and it didn't look promising.

Time was up and the moment of truth was at hand. I carefully took it out of the oven, and sure enough it was just as it was supposed to be - the cheese layer on the bottom, the cake on top. Oh ye of little faith.

Faith.......I felt a little stirring in my spirit when I thought about the whole cake process. Everything was clearly spelled out for me. I did just as my Mom had instructed, and it all came together (even for this very mediocre cook).

How often have I faced a difficulty in my life and doubted the "instruction manual" would prove to work for me?

The Father has given me all the help I need to walk through life's joys and sorrows. Yet when I come face to face with trouble, I am prone to doubt. I look around at the circumstances and things just don't look promising.

I am learning, ever so slowly, to trust in spite of the way things look. To lean hard on the One who has promised good things if I will simply obey. He has taken the true words and wrapped them up nicely in a book I can hold in my hands. When I let those words flow from my head to my heart and live them out - it goes just the way He said it would. It isn't always the way I might choose, but it is good in His way and in His time.