Life on planet Earth isn’t always a piece of cake. That may very well be the understatement of the day.
But sometimes, you’ve just got to eat the cake anyway.
The girls light the candles on their father’s birthday cake. It’s decorated with fluffy green cornstalks, reaching heavenward.
“Best corn I’ve seen all year,” says their farmer-father with a chuckle. It’s a drought year, all across the parched Heartland, where corn leaves curl in on themselves and whole fields are crisping.
It’s been ugly.
But this year, just like every other year, my man says these words over and over again: “God’s Got It.” It’s been his mantra for as long as he’s worked those fields. His philosophy for farming has become a theology for living. God is God, and God is good, and even in a dry and weary land, God has actually “got it.”
I reposition the cake for a better photo, bumping a finger into the frosting. I lift a frosted finger to my lips. I taste and see.
These are the sweetest days, no matter what the forecasters say. The Lord is still good, and we only need to taste … to see and to know.
My mother had ordered the cake from a bakery, a little surprise for the birthday boy while we’re here in the northwoods. At the bottom of the cake, the decorator swirled these three words: “God’s Got It.”
In this life, you’ve got to write it down sometimes to remember what you believe — not just in frosting, but on hearts. We believe that God has got it. All of it. This is not just a theological catch-phrase, but an actual way to habitually remember that there is a King in Heaven who holds all things together — even when life isn’t a piece of cake.
And we repeat it to ourselves, on the hot and cloudless days, and when the diagnoses come, and when we’ve gathered in hospice rooms, and over hospital beds, and in ugly days of wild uncertainty. It’s true: What we say to ourselves, and to one another, can determine whether we will live imprisoned or free. Because dark days will come. In this world we will have trouble, but what did Jesus say? “Take heart, for I have overcome the world.”
So we tell it to each other, over and over again. These aren’t just cute words to fit on a cake, but the right words to keep us fit for a life.
It’s why we return every two weeks to the table of grace, with the cup and the loaf. “Do this in remembrance of me,” are the words etched into the altar. We return and remember and receive and repent and repeat. God’s Got It. He has actually and miraculously overcome the world.
We believe this—
that Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit, that He came to Earth, and that He died on a cross, … and that when Satan was laughing and the disciples were running scared, God actually and miraculously still had it.
– that Jesus was wrapped in a cloth and buried in a tomb, and a stone was rolled into place. And when His followers grieved and saw nothing but darkness, God still had it.
– that on the third day, in opposition to the laws of nature, Jesus rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Because — please hear me here — God most assuredly had it.
– And we believe that our King is seated at the right hand of the Father, because it’s true: Our God has still completely and mercifully “got it.”
We’re cutting into the cake when the phone beeps. We’ve received a text, and a friend back home lets us know that about an inch of rain has fallen on our fields. And we thank God for His faithfulness and His goodness.
But even if He hadn’t sent the rain, He is still our Lord,
because He already sent a Savior.
It’s as true today as it was 2,000 years ago in Calvary: Our God who had it then, has got it now, and forevermore shall have it. He’s got it when land is wet, or dry … when hearts are despairing or hopeful … when life is not a piece of cake, and when it is.
He’s got it when it rains, or doesn’t rain, because He reigns.
We pass plates of cake around the table and lift forks to our mouths, and we taste and see, I tell you. We taste and see.
For the Lord is so. very. good.