No Cookie (Chapati) Cutter in God’s Bakery!
One of my sisters makes the best chapatis (Kenyan flat bread) and is quite meticulous in her approach. She often does not mind cooking alone and can easily roll the chapatis and toss them on the pan on her own. On one occasion someone (who will remain unnamed) volunteered to roll out the chapatis. I watched from the area where I was cooking another dish and noticed that the chapatis were not in perfect circles but were in all sorts of shapes. As we giggled and laughed, chapatis of odd shapes were nevertheless rolled out and tossed on the pan. As we sat down to eat nobody really cared about the shapes of the chapatis! All of them were tasty! This is because they all came from the same dough which was made from carefully selected ingredients. The original chef then kneaded the dough before allowing the amateur to roll them into crazy shapes. The taste of the chapatis was not impacted by their shapes!
Some of us get caught up in our appearance or that of others when we get tossed by the storm and clobbered by the challenges of life. There are those who get preoccupied with scars and contusions on their lives and are quick to disqualify themselves from being usable in the hands of the Master. They fail to realize that before God allowed the storm to come their way He had poured a generous dose of resilience into their lives that would allow them to withstand rough conditions. In fact, that generous dose of resilience is a specific measure of grace. As such, although the pressing and squeezing may contort our appearance, it certainly does not take away from the flavor of our lives. If anything, the squeezing brings out the best in us! Anyone who is willing to be fashioned in God’s bakery will experience the impact of the rolling pin, the tossing in the pan, as well as the anointing of the oil of the Spirit.
Perhaps you have disqualified yourself from being used by God because of the extent to which the issues of life have tossed you around. You may bear scars and appear distorted because of what you have been through and suppose that you are not "churchy enough". You may even be wondering why your experiences have been uniquely difficult, yet some people around you seem to have a smooth journey through life. I would like to encourage you that your experiences in God’s bakery have prepared you for the unique assignment He has for you. His plan for you is different from other people who seem perfect to you. You were destined for the extraordinary! Focus on what God wants to do with you now that you have come out of the pan.
It is important to remember that God does not have a cookie cutter to shape all of us. He intentionally fashioned our experiences in His bakery to be different. God is not a duplicator and takes time with each one of us as He prepares us for noble use in the kingdom. As such don’t be surprised to see someone else come out of the fire in a different shape from you! They have had their own individualized experience in the bakery of God and are ready to be used to minister to someone else as God had ordained.
On the other hand, if you are the kind of person who quickly notes who is not “Christian enough” because of their experience, I would like to challenge you to take a step back and appreciate God’s diversity in the bakery. Never dismiss someone because of what you think is a less than perfect appearance. They have been to the bakery! Have you been to the bakery? Are you usable in the kingdom of God?