I could hear the sounds of ‘mothering’ happening from the kitchen and scurried in to see what might be good to eat. Mother often baked and decorated special cakes for extra money, or to help a friend. My favorite was when she would slice off the top of a cake to make it level and we kids got to eat the delicious remnants. To my delight, this time the baking involved chocolate.
Peering into the bowl I could see the beautiful, swirling smoothness of chocolate as she stirred. My mouth began to water and I began to beg in a manner fitting a seven year old.
“Mommy, can I taste it?”
“No, honey, you don’t want this.” Was she kidding? Of course I wanted it. Even back then chocolate was an essential food group.
“Can I have just one taste?” I pleaded.
“You won’t like it.”
That creamy chocolaty beautifulness was just begging to be licked. I had to have it. What kind of mother would deny her child such a treat?
“Please, Mommy.” Surely she couldn’t resist my big-brown puppy-dog eyes.
“Okay, here,” She said with an insipid smirk on her face. Finally—I had worn her down and that lovely goodness was mine. Mother held out the spoon and let my finger swipe a generous streak across the surface. I could hardly stand the anticipation as I put my entire finger in my mouth to experience all that deliciousness at once.
This was definitely NOT chocolate! I was shocked less by the fact that my own mother would try to poison me, than that something so beautiful could taste so awful. I had been betrayed by chocolate itself. At the time I didn’t know what bitter was, but from that moment on I certainly had a reference.
“This is baking chocolate.” She was suppressing a laugh, I’m sure. “It has no sugar added. It’s used in recipes—like this one for brownies. I told you you wouldn’t like it.” I was a silly child not to believe her.
Isn’t that how we are with God? We beg for the things we think we need and can’t live without.
“Lord, please give me that car.”
“Father, please let me get this job.”
“Please, God, let us get this new house.”
We ask once…He says, “No.” We beg…He says, “No.” We plead…He smiles and says, “Okay, here.” But the car is a lemon, the job is a nightmare, the mortgage is burdensome. Then what do we do? We become indignant and may even blame God. We are surprised by our situation. We are silly children.
Just as my mother knew that baker’s chocolate wouldn’t kill me, our heavenly Father knows that we will survive the bitter life lessons. We may imagine that we are going to die from them, but He knows better. If only we would trust Him when He says “no” we would find that He has something so much sweeter planned for us.
I stand stirring at the kitchen counter—child at my leg.
“Please, Mommy,” The big-brown puppy-dog eyes plead for the third time.
“Okay, here.” Always grateful for a teaching opportunity, I give in, knowing this is a lesson better learned while young.
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