Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
Four times this week, I’ve faced problems that turned into something wonderful. Some would call it serendipity. After four times, I decided, as my friend, Kim Jackson, likes to term it, this was more God-incidence than co-incidence.
Problem #1: My Wednesday was turning into a series of unfortunate events. It was the last day our family would be together for awhile since our youngest daughter was returning to college the next day so we were trying to cram everything into the day we hadn’t done yet over the last month. We also decided to celebrate her 25th birthday a few days early since we would be apart on her special day.
I wanted to make a Boston Cream Pie, something I’d never done before. I debated back and forth. The recipe was complex and the four of us didn’t need that much cake. But I’ve always wanted to make one. We’re supposed to make the most of the time we have together and stop putting things off, right? So I threw caution to the wind, decided to cut the recipe in half, and soon filled one round pan with cake batter.
I consider myself a good cook. But the cake bombed. It was as flat as a pancake. Older daughter suggested cutting it in half and stacking the halves on top of each other. At our hair cut appointment, my beautician suggested making Trifle out of the ruined cake. I didn’t have the time to make a new cake and I didn’t want a remake for a birthday cake. My husband suggested buying a Sara Lee. He got the proverbial wifely glare. Suddenly, one of us suggested Pineapple Upside-Down cake. Perfect! It was small, not as gooey sweet, and simple to make. For our busy day, it was exactly what we needed and wanted.
Problem #2: It was a nasty weather day with bitter cold, high winds, and blowing snow. The powers-that-be decided to change an evening meeting to four o’clock. I clenched my teeth. That was exactly when I wanted to be cooking the birthday meal and we hadn’t made the cake yet. Older daughter ran late returning from the gym and all during my meeting, I fretted.
When I opened the kitchen door, the smell of baking cake greeted me. One girl stood at the stove stirring peppers and onions for Hungarian Goulash and the other stood beside her chopping apples for a Waldorf Salad. I am one blessed Mama!
Problem #3: My husband was becoming more animated and disconnected. Suspicious, I had him take his blood sugar – way high! Because she was late, older daughter didn’t have time to put up party decorations and younger daughter was too much in the way. A brilliant idea hit me. “Christine, can you take your dad for a walk in the church gym?” I went to my husband. “Can you get Christine out of the house by going for a walk with her in the gym?” By the time they came back, balloons, streamers and a tablecloth bedecked the dining room.
Don’t tell me how smart I was. I was too tired and frazzled to be brilliant. I truly believe the Holy Spirit sometimes works by putting ideas into our heads.
Problem #4: Fast forward two days. I had planned to make Cabbage Rolls for supper. It’s not often I find a lovely head of cabbage with good outer leaves. I thought I had one this time but as I tried to peel off the leaves, one after another broke in my hands. Time for Plan B. I found a recipe online called Cabbage Roll Casserole that ended up just as tasty and a lot easier to make. Good thing, because in the midst of this, I got a serious phone call from a family member. If I had been in the midst of making cabbage rolls, I wouldn’t have been able to sit down and work the problem.
Serendipity? Chance? I don’t think so. Am I just a smart cookie that know how to make bad things better? I can’t take that kind of credit. I’d rather give credit where credit is due, that God works within each of us for our good and His glory.
The really crazy thing about these events is that I talked to my ladies’ Bible study group this week about this very principle, how God uses the events of our lives to shape us and prepare us for something better. Look how He took so many of the Apostle Peter’s messes and made them into the masterpiece called Pentecost.
After all, isn’t the essence of grace God’s desire to take our problems, shortcomings and messes and redeem them into wonderful things? Isn’t that what He does with our lives when He saves us and keeps us for eternity with Him?
Romans 8:28 says,
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
I love God, oh I really do!
I’m so grateful He has plans for me. I’m so glad He can use even the messes in my life to bring about good and beautiful things that will honor and glorify Him.
Even Pineapple Upside-down Cake and Cabbage Roll Casserole.
Here’s the recipe I found (with a few adaptations!) for Cabbage Roll Casserole
Cabbage Roll Casserole
1 lb ground beef
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup uncooked rice
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 can tomato sauce
½ tsp sale
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp brown sugar
1 ½ cups beef broth
½ cup Mozzarella cheese
Cook hamburger till no longer pink. Drain. Add onions and cook till onions are tender. In a separate bowl, mix rice, cabbage, salt, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and brown sugar. Add ground beef mixture; stir thoroughly. Spoon into greased 9×9 baking pan. Pour beef broth over top. Cover with foil. Cook at 350 degrees for one hour. Stir, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Uncover and top with Mozzarella cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.