An Unlikely Birthday Cake

Divine guidance leads a pastor's wife to find the perfect way to regift an unusual Father's Day present.

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- Posted on Apr 25, 2017

An illustration of an angel decorating a cake

Pastor’s wife, church secretary and minister of all things miscellaneous. That’s me. I’d been  in and out of my office since morning, running here, running there, checking on one thing or another, solving problems, most of  them  minor, thank goodness.

Now it was evening and I still had one more obligation. I swung by the office to pick up some papers before racing off to our monthly women’s group meeting in the church hall. I rushed in, grabbed a folder off my desk and…stopped dead in my tracks.

There was something unusual sitting on my desk, amidst the usual piles of paperwork. A plain blue card on top of a cake box. Had someone left me a cake? I couldn’t imagine why anyone would. It wasn’t my birthday. Or any anniversary.

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The only upcoming holiday was Father’s Day, and that obviously didn’t apply to me. I went over to my desk and looked at the card. There was one word scrawled across the envelope and it was written in all caps: GOD.

Was I seeing things? I rubbed my eyes. It had been a long day. Nope, the envelope was still there. The cake too. It wasn’t the first time I’d found some random thing left on my desk by a parishioner. Usually it was a pamphlet, a note, or even something for the lost and found.

I’d never found anything like this before. What was the protocol for opening God’s mail? I supposed as the church secretary it was okay for me to read it. I tore open the envelope. A Father’s Day card, signed by two boys who occasionally attended our church with their mom.

Their dad lived out of state and was no longer in their lives. I opened the box and— sure enough—found a cake. “Happy Father’s Day!” it read. For a moment I was confused. Did the boys think I could get the cake to their dad? Then I remembered the name on the envelope.

The children had trusted me to get the cake to their father in heaven! I know you’re with those boys, Lord, I thought. And you’ve seen the beautiful cake they bought for you. But now I had a problem. What to do with the cake? God wasn’t actually going to eat it.

And I certainly didn’t feel right bringing home a cake meant for him. Maybe I should call the boys and explain, I thought. But what would I say? Sorry, kids, God’s unavailable for Father’s Day? It would break their hearts!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to come up with a solution just then. The women’s group meeting was about to start. I left God’s cake on my desk and hurried to the church hall. One of our parishioners was already standing outside. “Happy birthday, Miss Edith,” I said, giving her a big hug.

I was frazzled, yes, but a pastor’s wife always tried to remember birthdays. By the time the meeting ended, I was exhausted. I wanted nothing more than to drive home, kick off my heels and relax with a good book. Then I remembered that cake and card in my office, demanding my attention.

I still had no clue what to do with them. I packed up and carried God’s gift to my car. Maybe my husband the pastor would know what to do. I’d gotten a mile down the road when I heard it. A quiet voice from within. Invite Miss Edith to your house for birthday cake.

I shook my head. That was ridiculous. I was way too tired to entertain guests. And this was a Father’s Day cake, not a birthday cake. Think of Miss Edith, the voice seemed to say. She was a widow and her kids lived far away.

What if she’s alone tonight? On her birthday… I turned the car right back around, and entered the church parking lot just as Miss Edith was pulling out. I motioned for her to stop and hollered out the window, “Miss Edith, do you like cake?”

She smiled. “I sure do!” “Well, then,” I said, “follow me.” We arrived at my house and I led Miss Edith to the kitchen. “I’ll be right back,” I said. If we were going to celebrate her birthday, we were going to do it right.

I ran upstairs and explained the impromptu celebration to my 12-year-old daughter. “A party!” she said. That was all she had to hear. She rushed off to find candles. Meanwhile, I got out the birthday napkins and plates, and set the cake up on the kitchen table.

My husband arrived home minutes later. “What’s going on here?” he said. I filled everyone in. “Well, I’ll be,” Miss Edith said. “It’s not every day you get to eat a cake meant for God!” We turned down the lights and sang “Happy Birthday.”

Miss Edith said she already had her birthday wish with our little party, and blew out the candles in one big, energetic puff. Everybody clapped. God our father had received his gift, after all. And he made sure we knew who to share it with.

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