June 1, 2023

One of my hobbies is baking. I am not an especially gifted baker. I can bake a decent cake, but I am terrible at decorating (Jess is kind enough to do that part for me). And I have accomplished some complicated recipes such as macarons, rum fritters, and banana tarte tatin (#humblebrag). But there is a baking recipe that has always, always intimidated and frustrated me: bread.

That’s right. I’m scared of bread. I’ve dabbled throughout the years with bread-making, but it has rarely turned out edible. It seems like I always find a way to mess things up: too much/little yeast, overproving, underproving, the bread is doughy, the bread is burned.

I think part of the intimidation I have felt is because the entirety of the bread-making process is not in my control. Once you place your sugar, flour, eggs, and yeast in a bowl, things are largely outside your control. You have to trust that the ingredients are mixing and that the yeast is breaking down the carbohydrates to produce the carbon dioxide gas that gives bread its fluffy rise.

You don’t have to be a therapist to see that I have control issues. I struggle with situations in which I can’t predict the end result. I struggle to trust that it will all pan out in the end. If I am honest, I struggle to trust God. And there are various ways that the Lord has been teaching me about trust lately through things in the life of our church:

  • The parents of our high school graduates are placing their seniors in the arms of God as they trust them to the next stage of life (by the way, please be with us this Sunday for Graduate Recognition Sunday and support these families!).
  • We are taking some steps forward with our Honor the Past, Dream for the Future emphasis as we seek to use organ pipes from Brown Auditorium to complete our sanctuary organ. We also are looking forward to a playground renovation and a remodeling of Brown, but we don’t know the final result.
  • Our Vision and Navigation Team is completing our process through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship called the Thriving Congregations Initiative. The process ends in late June at a retreat in Atlanta. We are praying about what’s next for the VNT without knowing the answer.
  • We have experienced a number of losses lately in the life of our church. I think about these families placing their mourning and hope in the arms of the Resurrection and the Life. Their hope and faith inspire me.

We don’t always know how things will turn out. But, keep trusting, keep praying, keep hoping. In other words: let’s keep throwing stuff into the bowl and allowing the yeast of the Gospel to do its invisible, miraculous work beyond what we can see.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to conquer my “fear” and try my hand at some bread. I made a loaf of challah bread. I placed and kneaded the ingredients together and then placed the bowl on the front porch for its first prove. I could only marvel and watch the process at that point; it was outside my control.

But after two proves and a short baking session, I placed a warm, baked, braided loaf of challah bread in front of my family (accompanied by salted butter, of course). While I may have done the work of bringing the ingredients together, the end result was a gift; especially to me. It may only be received.

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