One of my favorite poems about God is “Bakerwoman God” by Alla Borzath Campbell. I’ve often wondered just why this particular poem speaks to me so loudly.
Maybe it’s because I understand the process of bread making. Not the throw everything in the machine and let it do all the work way. But where you proof the yeast and slowly, by hand, add each ingredient and mix it into the whole. I have kneaded the dough for 6 loaves of bread in one big batch. I’ve had bread refuse to rise. I’ve watched the miracle of a small mound of dough rise to a floury pouf then bake into a golden loaf of sweet, nourishing staff-of-life.
I relate to the entire concept of being both the dough and the bread maker. Somehow it hurts less when I realize that I’m sitting, feeling ignored by God, but actually I’m being carefully watched. Over-risen yeast makes poor quality bread. Bread makers watch that dough as it rises carefully, though the dough itself may not think so.
I don’t like the heat of the oven baking me. I don’t like that kind of attention. But it is a necessary part for the bread to be edible.
I want to be kneaded, risen, and baked by God. I want to be broken open and offered to others for consumption to feed their need for spiritual sustenance. I don’t want to be over-risen or under-risen or over-baked or under-baked. I don’t want to be plasticized and put on a shelf to be admired. I want to be a perfect loaf of bread, having endured the process of getting to that point, and used by God to bring health and hope to the Lord’s people.
That’s why I enjoy that poem so very much. It speaks of something I know and what I want. It explains when I’m hurting or feeling ignored. It explains when I’m feeling broken and consumed. It explains why the process continues over and over again. So God’s people can continue to be fed.