When I was in kindergarten, my mom made pink frosted cupcakes, for me to bring to school on my birthday. I couldn’t wait to carry them in to my classroom. Those cupcakes would make me the immediate star of the day; everyone’s best friend.
But when we got to school, the cupcakes were not in the back seat. Mom remembered putting them on the roof of the car, back in the driveway…
I’ll never forget that sight, when we rounded the corner. There were all of my pink cupcakes, dotting the street in front of our house, where cars had been running over them. It was the most tragic thing my five-year-old self had ever laid eyes on.
It’s funny how I don’t remember all of the cupcakes that did make it to school. In all the years of bringing birthday treats, I’m quite certain that this was the only cupcake tragedy. My mom may have even whipped up a new batch, that day, to replace the smashed ones. It wouldn’t surprise me; that’s the kind of mom she is.
But do I remember anything about the other cupcakes? Nope. I only remember the cupcake roadkill.
That’s how life goes. You can have 743 happy, sunny, pink cupcake days in a row. But the day that stands out in your memory is day 744–the day your hopes and dreams got smashed. The good days may have a cumulative effect; but that one bad day is most distinctly memorable. You can still recall exactly what it looked like, when you rounded the corner of the scene.
The good news is that Jesus remembers the scene, too. He was there. He knew it was coming before you did, and he even saw the details you missed–like the sadistic teenager, who backed up and drove over your cupcakes a few more times.
But Jesus allows cupcake roadkill, along with far more tragic experiences, for good reason. He says that trials are what help us become steadfast, perfect, and complete. Without trials, we would cave in to pressure–like hallow, dented cupcakes. We would be flawed–like cupcakes missing their sugar. We would be incomplete–like cupcakes without frosting.
You know, some of the most bent-out-of-shape, unsweetened, missing-their-frosting sort of people are the ones who haven’t really gone through many trials. They’re entitled, rude, and grumpy. You never want to call them ‘cupcake’ (unless you’re a sadistic teenager).
But folks who have been through many, many trials are often the sweetest ones. They recognize how much they have to be grateful for, because they’ve experienced loss. They know how to be steadfast and kind when something is irritating, because it’s all relative. They can faithfully endure great hardship, because they’ve had practice.
Trials are God’s way of stepping into the kitchen, intervening, and baking something sweet; Something that can be celebrated, and passed out to friends. Trials are God’s way of making us sweeter (if we’ll let Him), so that He can pass us out–His ‘sweet treats’–to the world.