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Sweet Refinement

My oldest daughter loves to bake and her latest artistic endeavor has been cake decorating. I’m not much of a baker with the exception of special events or holidays so we don’t often have a surplus of ingredients in our pantry. Not long ago, my daughter baked a cake and as she was preparing the frosting, realized we were out of powdered sugar. I offered her a jar of pre-made frosting but that was not going to work for her creation. She had specific plans for this cake and wanted it made to her specifications.

A few moments later, I heard a different sound from the kitchen. My daughter proudly walked into my bedroom to show me how she had transformed basic granulated sugar into the sweet, fluffy ingredient she needed. Did you know if you put granulated sugar into a food processor you can make powdered sugar? I was a bit skeptical so of course, I had to stick my finger in it. Sure enough, it fit the texture and appearance. I placed a bit of this fluffy powder onto my tongue and it passed the test. She proceeded with the final touches of her creation and it was beautiful. I was thoroughly amazed by her tenacity to follow through on this project without shortcuts until the final product was exactly as she envisioned.

This cake was a beautiful reminder to me of how God works in our lives. He has plans for each of us but sometimes we need refining before He can use us. Just like the granulated sugar, we are often exposed to processing to break us down into a substance more suited for His purposes. As I imagined the sugar gradually being transformed from its hardened, crystalized granules into a softer, more malleable form with each turn of the blade, I was reminded of a time when God did the same to me.

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Have you ever been broken down? There may have been a time in your life where you felt chopped down to dust, a mere version of the self you once were. I know I have and although I did not enjoy being in the processor, I am grateful God transformed my hard granules and rough edges into something softer and more useful. God’s refining process can be painful and may feel like swirling blades threatening to destroy our structure and stability as He slowly changes us from a hardened substance into something softer so we may be used as a sweet ingredient for His Kingdom. The grinding process may feel like it will destroy us and we will never be the same. But only the second part of that is true: we will never be the same. And that’s the point!

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

Much like the process of refining granulated sugar to its powdery form, God refines our granulated hearts into a soft heart of flesh, the very ingredient He desires. Just like my daughter, God will not settle for substitutions and He does not give up on His Creation until it suits His purposes. We too can become a transformed ingredient to be used in the building of His Kingdom.

I also noted the volume of granulated sugar had nearly doubled when it was processed into powdered sugar. God can do the same with us. We may not have much to offer in our hard, crystalized form but when broken down into a substance He can use, we become a larger contribution to building up the Kingdom of God. Isn’t that just like our God to take something small in volume and multiply it?

If you’re in the middle of a grinding process, I encourage you to focus on the Creator and His purposes rather than the sharpness of the blade. When we submit ourselves to God’s processing, we will be transformed into a new, sweeter creation able to serve a greater purpose. He has the perfect creation in mind and just as my daughter was determined to complete her creation, God is even more thorough and will not give up on us no matter how granulated we may be.

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Stand up, shake off the dust, straighten your crown, and walk forward confidently grounded in truth. 

Straighten Your Crown is a place to find encouragement grounded in Biblical truth to navigate the challenging circumstances we encounter in a broken world by responding in faithful obedience to the Word of God.


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