I finished mixing the waffle mix for the church work bee. I heard Brett turn the shower on. I glanced at the time and congratulated myself we would not be late to the church work bee because of me. I poured the waffle mix into a pitcher and mixed up the ingredients for the gluten-free batter. I followed the list of ingredients and poured them one by one into the mixing bowl. About half-way through the list I read, ‘one teaspoon baking powder’. I looked at my counter covered with the ingredients from the previous batch of waffle mix and realized I had mistakenly put baking soda into the regular waffles instead of baking powder. I glanced at the clock again. Ouch. Now we would be late to the work bee because of me. I quickly typed ‘can I substitute baking soda for baking powder’ into google. Yes! I discovered I could, but, at a rate of one-third less and I would also need to add lemon juice or vinegar to improve the taste.
I grabbed the frying pan, threw it on the burner, and tossed in a spoonful of the batter. I desperately hoped it would taste delicious without any intervention. While it sizzled in the pan I finished up the gluten-free batter. I hurriedly tossed the waffle in the shape of a pancake onto a plate and took a bite, burning my tongue in the process. It seemed to taste ok. I was momentarily relieved the waffle mix was fine and we wouldn’t be late. But a few moments later I spit the pancake out. Yuck. The after taste was awful. I really hoped the lemon juice would improve the flavor because I was out of flour and couldn’t make more mix. While Brett carried out the waffle irons and other things we needed for the work bee to the car, I did some quick calculations and added 24 teaspoons of lemon juice to the mix. I mixed it up and threw another spoonful into the hot pan. I taste tested the new waffle mix and was relieved they were edible.
While Brett skillfully weaved in and out of traffic on the way to the church trying to make up for lost time the phrase, ‘Pride goeth before a fall’ crossed my mind. It only took a few moments to go from congratulating myself we wouldn’t be late because of me to being 15 minutes late because of me. I remembered discussing ‘ beauty appointments’ in the women’s group at church. Those beauty appointments, which God has set up for us, are meant to smooth out the rough edges and make us more beautiful. Unfortunately it always seems as if these beauty appointments are reminiscent of the trips to the salon where the stylist cuts your hair inches shorter than you asked. While you may leave the salon with a great haircut, it didn’t turn out exactly like you had planned.
The waffle mix had one small mix up. Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents, but the recipe called for just the right amount of baking powder. I had a brain-glitch and reached for the box of baking soda. To fix it required lemon juice. Lemon juice isn’t so very tasty on it’s own, in fact most people would rather avoid it’s sour taste at full concentration. But, when added to counteract the mistake it turned a not so tasty waffle mix into an edible one. Sometimes God’s beauty appointments are about as appetizing to us as straight lemon juice, but when added to the mix of our life, it turns out just right.
Take Joseph for example, he certainly had more than one beauty appointment set up by God. First of all Joseph had a couple of dreams which represented his family bowing down to him. Being the youngest of his family he must have looked forward to the day the dreams were fulfilled. But, then came the beauty appointments. His brothers sold him as a slave. He was accused by the boss’s wife of attempted rape. He spent years in prison. Not so much fun, certainly worse than a bad haircut.
Joseph’s brothers remind me of the waffle mix. Hating their brother Joseph and plotting to kill him, then selling him as a slave was not a good thing. When I first taste tested the waffle, it tasted fine. It certainly looked fine, but the after taste was awful. I think Joseph’s brothers discovered that sin is like the messed up waffle mix. The sin gets mixed into our lives and we can’t see it. And just like I desperately hoped the waffle mix would be fine without any intervention, it wasn’t. We go through life thinking we are doing just fine. But given enough time the consequences of sin become apparent and it is usually leaves a bitter aftertaste as Joseph’s brothers certainly discovered.
Beauty appointments set up by God at just the time we need them are an opportunity to recognize it’s not our will to be done on this earth, but His.
“Humility and death are in their very nature one. Humility is the bud, in death the fruit is ripened to perfection.” Andrew Murray