I watch the Philosopher move rhythmically with his sleeves rolled up, hands kneading dough with practised movements, swaying and singing loud (considerately wearing his headphones due to my M.E hypersensitive hearing) as he listens to Dragonforce’s ‘Sonic Firestorm’ album.
Faint whispers reach me of ‘My spirit will go on’ and ‘Fury of the storm’ blasting his ears, the two tracks conveniently serving as optimum stretching time.
And I marvel yet again at how relatively few minutes hard labour, coupled with several hours of waiting, of course, will give birth to a new rising of heavenly scented, mixed ochre-and-umber-tinged loaves bursting with goodness.
Bread-making is both art and science. A labour of love. A miracle of nature.
For it isn’t always the same. Much can disrupt the end result.
On a bad mood day, the bread resists all efforts to come out well as it appears to absorb his feelings or fall victim to neglect and forgetfulness.
A happy day produces happy loaves rising smooth, high and steady, tasting as good as they look.
And there are others where we are seemingly indifferent and life can treat us much the same.
Yet God’s word is our daily food and sustenance,an essential part of a healthy spiritual diet. We grow weak without its nutritious nourishment filling our souls, appearing satiated on the outside yet dying of malnutrition within.
Where are we looking to be filled? Are we reliant on people approval, page views, comments, stats, followers, opinions that resound with our own, compliments, cheering and crowd pleasing?
Are we feeding ourselves on Facebook ‘likes’, twitter messages, Klout scores, our social media platforms? If so, then we risk facing alternate days of feasting and famine as attention is paid to us, or not as the case may be.
Or do we sit with open, receptive hearts, come empty to the throne of grace, shutting out all else and focusing on God alone as we await our daily supply?
Sadly, not always. I have been sleeping in many mornings lately, due to having M.E and SAD. And I was upset at first to miss my time with the Lord that had been carved out since January, with ‘Jesus Calling’, Bible, notepad and pen at the ready.
It was more than a habit. I craved and needed this space to feel sane in a world that soon spun me sideways. It didn’t feel right to rush headlong into hurry.
And I was all the sweeter to be around for taking that time to spend with God.
Irritability sits close with pain and fatigue for me.
Even so, God gave me special grace to see that His plan for me on those long slumber days included getting better rest and not to beat myself up over it.
For I was in danger of making the routine a ritual not to be broken, an idol perhaps.
Then more days passed. I no longer worried if I missed my special mornings with God; after all, He wasn’t giving me a hard time over it, was He? Apathy is a close bedfellow to adaptation. How easily we fall prey to it.
Soon, it became clear… this wasn’t about routine, habit, pleasing God or pleasing myself… this was about losing something infinitely precious.
In missing and not making up the shortfall, I was desperately hungry on the inside, hungry for God’s companionship, hungry for His wisdom, hungry for His insight and inspiration, hungry most of all for His Love wrapping me close before other things caught attention and closed my mind to Him.
Now, my heart longs to chase after the staff of life as found in Christ. My soul craves Life.
Even as my natural heart’s desire may be sleep, more sleep please, as I seek after God’s heart, I know all my basic needs will be fully met in Him.
And it can all fall flat for me if I haven’t connected with Him before I connect with the rest of life. Without daily ingestion, manna grows stale, mouldy, hard and crusty.
Our lives revolve around giving out to people and things. It can leave us empty vessels, dry husks of no help to ourselves or anyone else.
How can we give of our best if we lack vital communication with our Life-line, being nourished in order to break off manna for others?
God will ensure all is used for His purposes. Not a crumb is wasted. Next to knowing Him in close friendship and intimacy, all else pales into insignificance and leaves us quickly feeling famished again, unless we feast at His table once more.
As yeast bubbles in the bowl signalling new life to come, may we bubble over with Holy Spirit anointing that spills over into the lives of others, and rise as living examples of God’s grace and provision to feed, sustain and nourish in every good work.