Two years ago, just right around this time in June, I needed some smiles. Our family needed some joy. Gideon had been gone for a little over 2 months and grief was still hitting in varying degrees. I was in a lull. A “can’t find the smiles in my moments” type lull. So, I did what any woman does when she is feeling this way, I set out to bake a cake.
Faith was finishing up her year in Kindergarten and so I thought that the first day of summer would be a great occasion for a brightly colored, huge, and yummy cake. Combing the aisles for fun accessories and baking the cake was just the distraction I needed. And so the rainbow cake was born, along with our now annual “Happy Summer” Furlough party.
This week, as I was baking this year’s rainbow cake, it hit me all at once the blessing of such a small thing. It has become my kids’ most looked forward to family tradition and it was all born out of the sorrow of losing Gideon. The rainbows truly do come after the storm.
Its interesting how in life, sad times are so gently weaved in with the happy times. Smiles come and go, days keep passing by, school months come and go, but all along weaved into the fiber of our family is the depth that Gideon brought us. A contentment. A hope. A peace. A fearlessness.
Tim Keller says this in his writing titled Suffering: The Servant of Our Joy
“To say that our suffering is an illusion or to say we will be compensated for our suffering is one thing. But to say that the suffering we experience now will one day be a servant of our joy does not just compensate for it, it undoes it.
‘Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.’ There has never been an understanding of suffering that was more helpful or encouraging.
But to understand it, you have to ‘fix your eyes on it.’ That’s a discipline. Think about it until it pulverizes your discouragement. Let the glory of it hit you.
Don’t just accept suffering – because God doesn’t want it
Don’t just avoid suffering – because God can use it
Don’t just embrace suffering – because it is evil
Instead, enjoy the hope that suffering is going to be engulfed, swallowed up. The evil that hurts us now will be the eventual servant of our joy and glory eternally.”
I do not lie to you, I have read over that quote about one billion times. Suffering the servant of my joy? Nothing is more true. Nothing has been more real. Is there anything more hope filled than that statement? That when we believe in a God who calls us to follow Him and when we live to soak in the promises of His words then something as evil as suffering will become a servant of joy.
Rainbow cakes are proof of that in our family.
Baby Samuel, just days away from being one, is proof of that.
The hope in the promise of heaven that my children talk about, is proof of that.
The fact that I can think of Gideon and smile, proof again.
As another school year comes to an end, as Samuel starts toddling around and the kiddos influx for the summer the temptation comes for me to be overwhelmed, worried, stressed out. Four kids at home all summer, will we survive? Yet again the placement of our Happy Summer party couldn’t be more well-placed. Before the craziness even starts I am reminded why we celebrate. I am reminded of what is truly important and I am reminded that even on the difficult days, peace is not far behind.
My dear friend, here’s to the joy in your summer! Here’s to the hope that a new season brings! Here is to the beauty of rainbows, a symbol of God’s promises, that even though the rain may come His beauty is not far behind it. Be blessed!