July 19th: The cake beneath the icing
So as I’ve mentioned probably a million times, I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and honestly, I have some very interesting memories. In elementary school, whenever it was someone’s birthday, the celebrant would bring this huge cake to school and there’d be lots of uhm-ing and ah-ing. I’ll use myself as an example: when I turned 7, I screamed the house down because I wanted a huge barbie cake for my birthday. God bless my dear parents because they were kind enough to make it happen. However, I remember that cake having an alarming amount of icing and this detail in particular made me exceptionally happy.
Now as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realise that just because a cake looks glamorous on the outside doesn’t mean it actually tastes nice. Let that sink in (I’m going somewhere with this). You see, some of these bakers would put more effort into the icing of the cake than the actual cake. And I get it – the icing is what we all see, it’s what makes the cake as a whole look attractive. But you see, eventually we cut through the icing, peel back the layers, and what we actually eat is the cake BENEATH the icing (well I hope that’s what you do if not jedi-jedi is coming for you 🥲).
During bible study the leader told me he once had a cake that had the most beautiful icing and beneath it was eba…. PARDON ME? Those who are Nigerian would understand that such a combination is beyond disgusting to the human mind. My point is as spectators what attracts us to the cake is usually the outside – how glamorous it looks, its size, decoration etc. However, what makes us stay is when we cut through it and we actually like the contents of the cake i.e. the taste.
Let me take it one step further – cake making is actually quite a process. The cake requires a myriad of ingredients: eggs, flour, sugar etc. Not only that, the technique and temperature at which it is cooked is unique and that’s to ensure that the cake remains fluffy and doesn’t fall in the oven. Think of it this way – imagine a cake with amazing icing but you found out the cake beneath had fallen or it wasn’t fluffy, it tasted foul, or in fact it was eba??!! I don’t know about you but for me no matter how much glamorous icing you put on such a base I will be instantly turned off! I wouldn’t want to eat such after cutting through it. Fair right? I think that’s fair.
Okay now let me land: that’s a good analogy to show God’s focus vs. society’s focus. God is more concerned about the cake beneath (our character) vs. the icing (the things that we have which people focus on e.g. high paying job, wealth, glam). What people see in you (at first) is usually your ICING. They see your beauty, job, achievements, wealth etc – those things attract them at first. However, over time as they get to know you, they cut through your cake and reveal what’s actually important: your character.
Let’s go back to the analogy I just described in the preceding paragraph – no matter how glamorous the icing is, if the cake beneath isn’t well prepared the whole cake will not be as appealing. The same applies for us: no matter the glitz and glam of our icing if our character is unattractive the whole cake becomes less appealing. In fact, God went a step further to say that it’s only when a cake is cooked well and doesn’t fall in the oven that it can actually carry the icing nicely! Imagine if you saw a cake that fell in the oven and someone slapped on inches of icing on it – wouldn’t that look very unattractive? I think it would! Similarly, it’s only a person who has a good character that can sustain and carry the weight of the blessings God bestows on that person i.e. the fabulous high paying job, beautiful marriage, amazing relationships, impressive achievements etc. A person with a bad character may fool people at first but over time we always cut through the icing and truly reveal whether the cake beneath is desirable or not.
It’s a pretty deep analogy right? Ya! When the Spirit of God gave me this revelation my jaw dropped. I was like YE 😫 I had been obsessing for a few weeks and wondering why God’s promise was taking forever to come to fruition??! In my mind I’m like – why is this taking SO LONG? Haba???!! I thought you have all the hearts of men in your hand, I thought you parted oceans and seas – then why is this taking forever??????!!! He then gave me this whole analogy and made it clear that his focus was (and will always be) on the cake beneath i.e. a person who has the correct character to uphold the icing he gives. It was as simple as “Tumi I have no issues giving you the icing, I can give it to you today. However, you must understand that without the correct character, you cannot uphold everything. If your cake falls or isn’t cooked right, the whole cake will not be as attractive to people.” So yes, a very profound way of telling me to BE PATIENT.
You see, we are all waiting for one of God’s promises to come into fruition and I cannot lie, waiting is difficult. In fact, it can even FEEL painful. However, when He gave me this analogy it gave me comfort because it means our waiting is not in vain. As we wait, we are transformed. Our heart and character is transformed to become what he desires i.e. people who look more like Him and who can carry the gifts He actually wants to give us. I woke up one morning with Psalms in my head… yes guys… I had Psalms in my head! The final thing I heard was “Psalm 27”. I had never read this before but it’s a Psalm of David. I’ll share a the ending verses:
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Psalms 27:13-14 NIV
So I read that verse and saw the ending and I knew he was reiterating what he had been telling me all along: don’t move, wait for me, don’t get hasty, I’m going to show up, trust me, trust in what I am doing.
A skilled baker dedicates their time to craft each cake into “perfection” and in doing so demonstrates their skill when the cake is cooked perfectly. Similarly, God dedicates his time to shape our character and in doing so we may look more like him and glorify His name. When he gives you these blessings and you have a Christ-like character he smiles – he’s pleased.
What am I trying to say?
God is more concerned about the cake beneath the icing i.e. our character vs our achievements we display to the world
A cake with amazing icing but not-so-nice base will always get found out i.e. a person with the glitz and glam but not-so-nice character will get found out
Waiting is absolutely necessary to get a well-cooked cake (i.e. a good character)!
Waiting isn’t punishment. It’s preparation to ensure you have the correct character to carry the blessings God wants to bestow on you.
Phew… a mouthful 😁 I hope this encourages you to be patient and wait. In waiting, your cake is being crafted by your perfect maker. He’s working to ensure the cake doesn’t fall and it can carry the icing he will eventually put on it. God never disappoints. Wait and see the fabulous icing you’d get once he’s satisfied with the cake beneath! I’ll end with this scripture:
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6 NIV
God doesn’t do half-baked cakes. God does not make incomplete cakes. By his Grace we will live to see the icing and glorify Him. Be patient, wait as he perfects the cake beneath.