Seeing through it…

Here in the UK, it’s ‘Bake Off’ season (a TV contest for home bakers) and once again we’re being shown the importance of the ‘windowpane test’. This is a way of discovering whether dough has been sufficiently kneaded – if it can be stretched to the point that light can shine through it, it indicates that the gluten is well developed and the dough is ready to rise.

photo source http://pinchmysalt.com

It strikes me that the same can apply to us. It can be the people whom life knocks about, and who are stretched to unimagined points, that can end up with light shining through them.
Stories come to mind of people who were abused, helping others seeking freedom; people who’ve known what it is to be in need, advocating a better state of affairs for the disadvantaged; people familiar with disability or depression, offering empathy and empowerment to those facing difficulties.

As a believer, I trust that God will never stretch me beyond my limit. While we cannot always choose our circumstances, we can decide how we react.
Truth is, after months of physical and emotional challenges, I feel like a bit of pummelled dough and I find that my responses are variable!
In my better moments, I take a step back, and see the whole picture with small shafts of light shining through.
In my darker moments, I struggle to see clearly, until I realise that God the Master Baker is at work, rising from the ingredients of everyday life.

Trevor Dennis, retired Dean of Chester Cathedral and author of The Three Faces of Christ, has likened God to a baker:

My God was in the middle of baking bread and up to her elbows in flour, and she came out to just to see me. I didn’t know she wore a pinny!
She came right up to me and gave me a great big hug. Like no hug I’d ever had before. And that was my judgement day. I’ve never been the same since. And I still have the marks of God’s floury hands on my back. Everyone does up here.

Dough is transformed by kneading. It responds to warm firm handing, so I’m going to see it through, hoping that God’s light will shine through it all…

Truth is… Remember that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.  (I Corinthians 10:13)

It’s the little things in life…

It’s Bake Off season at the moment!
– The ‘Great British Bake Off’ is a television baking competition that takes place in ‘the tent’ (a marquee). A baker’s dozen compete against each other in a series of rounds, with a contestant being eliminated each week.

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It’s become such a popular series, that there’s an additional weekly programme, ‘An Extra Slice’, which takes a humorous look at the week’s round and features the eliminated baker.
I found this week’s edition unexpectedly moving, and it got me asking myself what makes life meaningful?
– Home-baked cakes could be one answer!
But actually, if we stop to notice, it’s the little things in life that can make a big impact.

This week’s eliminated baker was a young man, Jamie, who in just two episodes has endeared himself to many:

You can tell how old a Bake Off viewer is, simply by whether they want to marry Jamie, or adopt him! (Twitter)

Jamie appeared to be without guile, and when asked by Jo Brand (the Extra Slice host) what he would miss most, he said:

“…the small things, like the little pack lunch boxes”

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He could have highlighted many alternatives, such as being on camera or being with the celebrity judges, but no, his instant response was ‘the small things’.

Jamie also got me thinking about what constitutes ‘success’.
It’s refreshing to watch someone who keeps things in perspective, and the filming of his time in the tent, captured this well.
Later, when Jo questioned him about the 3D biscuit guitar he’d made (that contributed to his elimination) he said:

“It was the best I’d ever made, so I was really pleased about it.
Obviously compared with the other biscuit sculptures it wasn’t in their league, but I was happy with that”.

Truth is, I can fret about my perceived failures. But God only calls us to do the best we can and to be happy with our good efforts. So let’s treasure Jamie’s attitude, for:

The only thing we can agree on in the UK in highly divided times, is how much of a national treasure Jamie is! (Twitter)

Truth is… Mean spirited ambition isn’t wisdom James 3:14