Since returning from his sabbatical last fall, my pastor has been encouraging our church family to cultivate times of silence and solitude to be with the Lord. Our staff team has put this into action by taking a monthly day of prayer and reflection. Once each month, we devote what would normally be a workday to intentionally spending time resting with the Lord.
When we first started this practice, I pondered what I could do to set this day apart. I decided to bake bread, knowing that doing so would help me to slow down and enjoy this gift of a day. I’ve tried a few different recipes now, some with more success than others. I recently received a new cookbook that included a “No-Knead” bread recipe, and I looked forward to trying it. This recipe seemed to offer all the goodness of bread-making with barely any hands-on effort or mess. “Just let time do the work!” the recipe boasted.
Waiting is Work
I prepped the dough the night before, since it would need 12-18 hours to rise. As the next morning dawned and I anxiously peaked at the dough (that still had hours to go), I was struck by an unwelcome reminder: waiting is work. Yes, yeast and time were doing the hard work of fermentation to make my bread dough rise, but that didn’t free me from work of my own. I had to manage my patience, wrestle with my inability to control the speed or quality of the proof, resist the temptation to just throw out the dough when I knew the chilly air of my apartment was hindering its rise. I also couldn’t just stare at the bowl of dough all day— I needed to devote my attention to other life-and-rest-giving pursuits so that I wouldn’t squander this precious day…