Baking Bread

My feet have left the ledge.

It’s not the ledge I thought it was either; though I know it was the one I was waiting for regardless.

I’ve prayed many times the fateful prayer, that God would teach me to become fearless, by faith. He has faithfully answered.

The day after I wrote my last blog post I fell into an unknown illness.

I thought I was on the doorstep of death as I struggled to breathe, my entire body caught up in one giant muscle spasm, my tongue not working right in my mouth, my heart hammering in my chest. And every time I hear sirens now, I remember the night they were for me.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the LORD wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

James 4:13-17

None of us knows what tomorrow will bring. None of us knows if we might be standing on the precipice of something hard, or something wonderful, or something that’s a little of both. Sometimes God gives us glimpses of these things, and for this I am very grateful. In a way, the post from three weeks ago was like a holy heads-up…though I didn’t know at all what that would mean. In the deepest parts of my heart as the LORD has grown in me a desire to write about fearlessness, I have questioned him and told him, “I’m not qualified to write this.” He has told me, “You will be.” And simultaneously I am elated and terrified. And here I am, breathing by his grace alone. Writing by his grace alone. And I know he is teaching me, qualifying me, giving me the words to say.

And since writing messages that matter to a world that is broken up with sorrow, and bent with hatred, and twisted up with terror, since that is the ultimate desire and cry of my heart, this illness is his gift to me. It’s an answer to prayer.

In the past three weeks I have learned so many things, so many that I eagerly desire to share with you; far too many things for one post. And many are still percolating and ruminating in my mind. But what I keep thinking is this:

Sometimes blessing looks to the world like suffering.

And doesn’t that make sense? In the upside down and backwards economy of the gospel of grace? Where the first are last, and the last are first? Where the servants shall be exalted above those who recline at the table? Where the least of these are the most important mission? Where our Lord defeated death by dying?

I have thought so much in the past few weeks of the words of Ann Voskamp on one of her blog posts. I don’t remember exactly how she worded it, but she spoke about baking bread. She spoke about the dry kernel of grain, the grinding, the kneading of the flour with water and salt… and she said something like, “If you didn’t know how bread was made, you might think it looks like total destruction.”

So here I am; not well by the world’s standards. Not well by my own definition. But it is well with my Soul.

And maybe, just maybe, God is baking bread.

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5 thoughts on “Baking Bread

  1. This is the reminder I needed today… this week… this season. It’s hard not to ask, “Why me? Why us?” when it comes to suffering or in this case, watching one of my kids struggle. Why does she have a rare health condition? What will it mean for her life? and why does she have to be the one that suffers the consequences of people who are self serving and it has cost her so much over the past year? But maybe sometimes blessings look to the world like suffering… maybe good that we can’t see now will come of it later… maybe it is part of a refining process for her, for our me, for our family… maybe these momentary afflictions are producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond anything we can comprehend.
    I love the way you write… so clear, reflective, and deep.

    • I’m so sorry for what you are experiencing Cat. I didn’t know you guys were struggling with health things out there too. I’ll be praying for you. Thank you for your beautiful and encouraging comment. It brought tears to my eyes for more reason than one.

  2. Love your words, Grace. Yes, God is up to something good and when we smell the loaves as they cook in the oven we know the crushing of the wheat was totally worth it. Can’t wait to read your words that are such a gift to us!

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