Have you ever heard the term "half-baked"? It is usually used as a derogatory comment toward someone that doesn't agree with someone else's position or opinion. I believe there is another meaning to the statement that I have found to be true in my own life. Simply put, "You can't bake a cake any faster than you can bake it."
When we are in a situation where we are hurting, we want out! Usually, we do not really care how we get out, we just want to stop hurting. That is only natural. Like a cake in the oven, it is hot in there!
But there are times when we are in a process that God is working in us and that hurt is bringing out things in us that could only come out under pressure. It is in those times that we learn lessons that we could not learn any other way.
A friend recently asked me, "Randall, what do you think is the purpose of pain in our lives?" I thought a moment, and responded, "It is simply a catalyst. It causes a change to occur."
Understand: I am not suggesting that God is a "child abuser" and intentionally hurts his children, but the fact is that there are times when we hurt.
I am also convinced, from my own experience, that those hurting times can be part of a process that will build greater strength, deeper joy, and a more complete faith in God. Paul spoke of this many times in his writings in the New Testament.
Now, back to the cake.
If you attempt to bake a cake faster than the recipe calls for by increasing the heat, you will get a burned outside and a soggy, gooey mess inside that is not fit to eat. If you take the cake out of the oven too soon, before it is finished, it is, again, unfit to eat and no one will be able to enjoy it. You simply cannot bake the cake any faster than it is supposed to be baked!
In your life, if you attempt to get out of the "fire" too soon to stop hurting, you may end up "half-baked", unfit for the work God has chosen for you.
Even though you may be hurting now, allow Him to finish what He is doing in You. Only God can finish it. You cannot. If you try, you will be like that cake that is unfit to eat. You must allow Him to finish the process in you. Trust Him.
When it is complete, you will be so much stronger, more at peace, have more joy, and be more prepared for His work than you ever imagined possible.
Do not dispair or give up hope. When you are "in the fire", it feels like an eternity. It feels as though the hurt will never end. But when you come out on the other side a finished work, you will be grateful that you allowed God to do what only He can do.
Allow me to close by sharing with you some of the lyrics of a song I wrote years ago. This was written during a very difficult time in my life when I was "in the fire". The song is titled, "My Refuge" and was written as a prayer to the Lord.
All I could see was a heartache.
The pain would not go away.
It seemed I would drown in my sorrow.
I just couldn't face another day.
Then I recalled what You said to me.
Long, so long ago.
You said that you would be there for me.
To give all my pain and hurt to you.
spoken: And never forget
That when I hurt, You're hurting too.
It hurt, but He was there. It hurt, but I am grateful for the experience now. It hurt, but it was worth it because I wouldn't want to be the man I was before. It hurt, but if I could undo it all today, I wouldn't. It hurt, but now I am stronger, more faithful, more faith-filled, and I love my Father more now than I ever could have before.
I learned what I could only have learned "in the fire". And He did everything He promised He would do.
If you need an example, I am living proof that He is trustworthy and faithful. If He was faithful to me, He will be faithful to you.
G. Randall Vaughn