When the Pudding Doesn’t Pan Out

March 28, 2023 | Jaci Miller

Rich, velvety chocolate pudding called my name. Impatient to try the fudgy concoction, I unceremoniously (and unhygienically) shoved my finger into the bowl of bliss, scooped a big dollop and stuck it in my mouth.

I coughed. Not sweet. Beefy. This was … gravy! Cold gravy!

Ugh. Tempted to spit out the mouthful, I swallowed hard and sipped some water. I supposed this served me right for my barbaric manners.

Now, I love gravy. Hard to beat a pile of fluffy mashed potatoes topped with rivers of the stuff. Salty, meaty goodness hits the spot — that is, when the spot calls for savory.

But I was expecting sweet chocolate. And the unforeseen contrast between the two left me gagging.

Maybe you’ve encountered this too, like when you were expecting to enjoy a bite of lemon taffy, and it turned out to be banana. Blech.

Or maybe, something happened. Something so opposite of what you expected for your life that it sent you reeling. Maybe an unplanned pregnancy or a job change.

Our expectations can color our beliefs. They color how we view what God is doing. And, sometimes we view it wrong.

We may not expect the thing God wants to give us. His gifts can be just as good as what we hoped for, but the shock of gravy-for-pudding still turns us upside down, questioning Him, asking, “What about the pudding?” Or, “Oh God, I needed chocolate right now. Why did you give me gravy?”

I don’t believe for one instant that God watches from Heaven, chortling over our displeasure. Roaring with laughter at the good one He pulled over on us. No.

Matthew 7:9-11 says, “‘Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’”

If the circumstance is of God (and sometimes it may not be from Him, but that’s a different post), there is goodness in it. So, when God gives us “gravy,” He views it as a good gift — not a practical joke. I’m sure God would much rather see us rejoice in the good gift, than splutter in disgust that it wasn’t what we hoped for. The problem lies in our expectations being misaligned with His purposes.

What if Moses had said, “Lord, I didn’t want you to speak through a burning bush. Send me an angel instead.” Had Moses turned away, he would have missed the calling of his life. Plus, he would have missed all the wonders and signs God performed along the path to liberating the Hebrews.

Or, if Christ, in the Garden of Gethsemane, had cried out, “Father, it’s harder than I thought it would be. Send someone else.” Suppose Christ had spit us out in favor of what he, and not God, wanted. What hopelessness would humanity have experienced then?

The point of this extended metaphor of brown semi-solids? To encourage us to walk more closely with Him so we can see His work in our lives from a broader perspective. To be so in alignment with Him that His gifts delightfully surprise. Not shock or disappoint.                                                            

To realize that even when the pudding doesn’t pan out, gravy is still a gift.