Olivia and I were making a special treat. We had just finished a brief unit on Australia in school, and one of her books included a recipe for an Australian dessert called lamingtons. It looked simple enough and quite good. I mean, what could be bad about a light, fluffy cake drizzled in chocolate? We dug in, planning to offer the treat for the kids’ afternoon snack.
Meanwhile, in walked Steven. Steven has never been too sure about trying new things. He has gotten a lot better about it, but he still prefers the familiar.
"How long with those things last?" he asked with a hint of uncertainty in his voice. I wasn’t sure what he was getting at, but he finally told me that he wasn’t sure he was ready to try them that day and wanted to know if there would be any left for…later. For when he finally decided he would be ready to try them. He admitted that he knew they were probably better than whatever other snack he might choose (probably a sucker from his sweets bucket), but he just wasn’t ready to make the choice to go with something new, no matter how good it might be. Being the mean mommy that I am, I took the choice away from him. I told him that the lamingtons were the snack choice for that afternoon. He could take it or leave it. He decided to take it, but not without a few tears over not getting his way.
The lamingtons ended up quite messy and ugly, but also quite delicious. Even Steven thought so, confirming that they were better than some little ole piece of candy. But he almost missed getting to try them because he was so intent on his way.
Lamingtons, even made well, are still not the best of the best. But, the whole situation did make me think about how we respond to what God wants to give us – which is without a doubt the best! So often, we receive the news of what He has for us with the same lack of enthusiasm Steven had about those lamingtons. We get in our heads what we want, and we fight stubbornly for it. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God’s way is always best. But, we still want what we have set our eyes on. We might not openly admit it, but deep down we’re willing to sacrifice God’s perfect best just to get what we want.
Our great struggle revolves around the fact that God’s best for us is typically shrouded in uncertainty. He doesn’t give us some grand vision and lay it all out in front of us. So, His best is unfamiliar. And that makes it just a bit frightening. Or maybe a lot frightening. We’d rather hang onto the sucker in our hand because it’s familiar. We know what it tastes like. We know what to expect. And we know we’ll enjoy it. That lamington is unknown and unfamiliar. It’s not that it doesn’t look better. In fact, it looks a lot better! I mean, how can ooey, gooey chocolate not look better. But, it’s still the unknown up against the familiar. We equate unknown with uncertain. No guarantees. The familiar is often a guarantee. And that makes the familiar is so very much more preferable.
Until we remember one solid truth – in God, there are no uncertainties. He Himself is our guarantee. The unfamiliar does not have to be frightening, no matter how little of it we can see, because we can completely trust in Him to give us the absolute, perfect, wonderful best!
As much as Steven enjoyed the lamington I "forced" on him, I guarantee that we’ll enjoy God’s best far more. It is perfection. It is utmost joy. It is eternal. Let’s take Him up on His offer of the very best. We can embark on the journey together, and I’ll even throw in a plate of lamingtons to make the trip a little sweeter!