Saturday, December 12, 2015

What Pancakes Taught Me About God's Love

Given a choice between cereal and pancakes, my son will always choose pancakes. Of course, they can't be plain. He likes A LOT of syrup. If he can't see the syrup, it doesn't count. So, because I love him and before he had to ask, one Saturday morning I heated up his pancake, drizzled on some syrup, and then cut it up the way he likes it. I also made sure to leave a trail of syrup visible on the plate as proof that there was syrup, just in case all that sweetness got absorbed by the pancake before he could eat it.

He sat down at the table and I patted myself on the back. "Way to avoid a two-year-old tantrum at 7..." I was cut off mid self-congratulation by the predictable question, "Mom, can I have some syrup?"

I already put syrup on your pancake. It's right there. See the drizzle pattern? And see, I left some extra on the plate so you can dip pancake in it! Isn't that great?

It's not there. I need some syrup. Can I have some syrup?

Buddy, see? I put the syrup on before you got to the table. Then I cut your pancake for you. It's right here.

No! (whining intensifying) I need some syrup! 

And then the tears begin. I tell him just to take a bite. He'll taste the syrup if he just takes a bite! (There is so much syrup on that pancake that I can't justify adding more.) Just try it, Guy!

But no go. He cries. He yells. He screams. And so finally, I ask if he wants to go back to his room and take a break on his bed. He screams in reply, so I pick him up and let him take a cool-down in his room. I wait in the kitchen, finishing the rest of the dishes and feeding the other hungry kiddos at my table.

A few minutes later, calmly and quietly, Guy walks into the kitchen, sits down at the table, and takes a bite of his pancake. In fact, he eats all of his pancake, without tears, and talks to me about the cars he sees outside our kitchen window. Then, he asks for another pancake and he watches me heat it up, watches me cut the pancake, and sees me pour on the syrup. I prepare the pancake just like I did before, and the syrup gets absorbed again by the pancake. But this time, he recognizes it is there. He believes me because even though he can't see the syrup, he's tasted it.

How often have I looked at my plate and thought, "It isn't enough"? Sure, I may see a trace of syrup over on one side, but my pancake seems dry, tasteless, and unappealing. I start to wonder why my house can't look like this one, or why my clothes can't look like hers, or why this person doesn't seem to like me as much as they like someone else. Or I look at what is going on in the world and wonder at the hearts of men! I wonder at how much people are willing to sacrifice to cause pain, and I ache for the innocent caught up in bitter, hateful conflict. Where is the sweetness for them? Even if there is syrup on my pancake, what difference does that make? I don't see it. So I get mad. I yell. I cry. I ask for more.

I can't pretend to have an answer to all of these troubles, and in making this comparison I'm not trying to make light of desperate situations. But as I thought about my son and his pancakes, I realized how much I am like him. God's love is there, on the plate, waiting for me to try it. And unlike the quantifiable amount of syrup I put on my son's pancake, God's love is endless and eternal. To help me understand that love, He leaves me little trails of sweetness for those times when I can't see all the syrup He has already provided for me. God knows me. He knows I love a break in the storm. He knows when I need a hope-filled note, a smile from my child, a recipe to work out, a spot of quiet beauty, a season of peace.

While some may try to dismiss this time of year and its commercialism, I believe it is still a season of peace. It is a season in which I have "tasted that the Lord is gracious," and because I've tasted that before, I can't deny that sweetness. I have tasted of that love in personal, powerful moments and it has shaped my spirit because:

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 

My son wasn't filled until he tried the pancake. Once he did, he wanted more. I think that is the important lesson- to try it, to eat, or perhaps more eloquently put, to partake. And what is this gift of love of which I should be partaking? The ultimate gift and manifestation of God's love is that He "sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."

So because there are times when I may lose sight of the sweetness of that truth, I am infinitely grateful for a season in which I can look around and see symbols which remind me to be a "partaker in Christ," and to "hold the beginning of [my] confidence steadfast until the end."

I forget sometimes that the ultimate manifestation of God's love is there, in front of me, already given. My prayer for this season is that I remember how sweet a gift that is, and that I live more fully dedicated to being more because of it. More importantly, I pray that I remember to partake of that gift.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

Bake the bread. Share the slices.

(Romans 8:16-18; 1 John 4:14; Hebrews 3:14; John 3:16)

1 comment:

  1. Courtney, You are such a gift yourself. Thank you for your amazing self, your wonderful energy for life, and your words of wisdom.