Imagine that you’re a ball of bread dough (for some of us whose figures are a bit “doughy,” this isn’t much of a stretch).
You’ve had your ingredients mixed together nicely, and you’ve been resting for a while after all that effort. You feel good: you’ve even risen higher. It won’t be long now until you become a beautiful loaf of bread.
But wait! What’s that coming toward you? It’s a fist! Someone is actually punching you! You feel yourself deflate, and lose a lot of your volume. Then you’re lifted out of the warm bowl you were in and slapped onto a counter. Ouch! That hurt! The hands are now kneading and pummelling you. You wish they could be a bit more gentle.
Finally, it stops. Thank goodness! That was excruciating! You’re now resting back in your bowl in a warm spot, with a tea towel over you to protect you from drafts and from drying out. You can relax now. At least all that pain is over with.
Or is it? Some time later, here come the hands again. They lift the tea towel and begin punching you down anew, just when you’d risen to your previous height. Not again! You’ve got to be kidding! Wasn’t once enough? Once more, you’re kneaded and prodded, stretched and pressed down hard. What good could this possibly be doing you?
When all the pummelling is finished, you’re shaped and placed into a loaf pan. At least it’s cozy here, and the hands have disappeared for a while. You can rest again. Surely nothing worse will happen to you.
But then suddenly you’re thrust into a searing oven. Yikes, that’s hot! You feel your insides begin to transform, and your surface start to turn brown.
You’re becoming a loaf of bread after all.
But why all the trouble and pain? Was it really necessary?
Yes, because that’s what gave you a finer texture.
Punching the dough down releases any air pockets that have formed and helps the bread develop a more consistent rise and texture. Kneading the dough allows gluten to form: this enables the dough to rise higher so the finished product will be lighter and fluffier.
All those things you went through that you couldn’t understand were for a good purpose.
It’s the same in our lives, isn’t it?
Sometimes we endure difficulties that don’t seem to make any sense. We can’t see how anything good can come from our trials.
But God promises that He will fashion all the elements of our lives together into something that is for our ultimate good.
I like the Amplified version of the Bible verse that explains this:
“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
This tells us that, in everything that concerns us, God has a plan. We may not be able to see how that plan is working out, but we can trust that our loving Heavenly Father is only allowing events in our lives that align with His purposes for us.
So when you go through challenges as a believer, know that the Baker isn’t being cruel.
He’s allowing you to go through those difficulties in order to refine your character, conforming it to the image of His Son Jesus.
In the end, your faith will rise higher and you’ll be better positioned to nourish others!
© 2022 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.