I brought a little friend with me this morning. He’s a guy I’m sure all of you have met a time or two in your own lives. Do you know who this is?
That’s right, it’s a gingerbread man. You guys like gingerbread men? They’re really sweet and delicious, aren’t they? Look at this guy. He’s got perfectly shaped arms, legs and a head. He even has eyes and a mouth. He’s a good looking cookie, isn’t he?
But do you know how he got to be such a cute little cookie? It’s a pretty scary story. You see, this gingerbread man went through some pretty hard times to become the fella you see today. You know the first thing that happened to him? He was run over with a rolling pin! Can you imagine, someone laying you out on the street and running over you with a steam roller? It actually happened to this poor guy!
But that’s not all. You know the next trial he suffered? Imagine someone taking a sharp blade and cutting your flesh! It really happened to the gingerbread man! Someone took a knife, or maybe a sharp cookie cutter, and cut this poor guy into the shape you see here.
But as horrible as that sounds, it’s nothing compared to the next trial. This poor gingerbread man was put into an oven! That’s right, a hot oven at about 350 degrees! The heat must have been unbearable.
But you know something? If this gingerbread man had not been rolled flat, cut out, and put in the oven, he wouldn’t be a gingerbread man, would he? He’d just be a little lump of dough.
You know, the Bible tells us that sometimes in life, we’re going to face hard times, and even those of us who are Christians will face suffering. But you know something? God uses suffering. Can you believe it? He uses the hard times in our life to shape us into something beautiful, just like the gingerbread man.
John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” When hard times come, don’t blame God. Thank God that he is big enough to use suffering to make you into someone beautiful.