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And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
(Romans 8:28, NASB)

There are two kinds of bread, yeast breads and quick breads.  Quick breads rely on the use of leavening agents such as baking soda and baking powder.  You mix them up and pop them in the oven, and they rise as they bake.

Yeast breads use yeast for leavening, and yeast takes time, because it is a microorganism that must multiply innumerable times to produce the gas that raises the bread.  Yeast breads also need the gluten in the wheat to develop to trap the gas bubbles produced by the yeast.  Gluten is developed by kneading, most often.

Think of God as a master baker, and ourselves as the dough.  What kind of bread is He making?

When Saul challenges David’s desire to go up against the Philistine champion Goliath, he points out “. . . you are but a youth, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” (I Samuel 17:33, NASB)

David responds by telling the king of the times as a shepherd when he had defended his flock against a bear and a lion, and had killed both.  Those earlier experiences prepared David to face danger bravely, and honed his skill with his weapons of choice, the sling and stones.  More importantly, they taught him to trust in the Lord God to deliver him.

Samuel anointed David to be the future king of Israel well before he was crowned and allowed to rule.  Saul, although unrighteous, was left in place as king for some time.  How difficult it was for David to wait, pursued and persecuted by Saul despite the fact that he’d done no wrong.  He did wait, respecting Saul’s position as the Lord’s anointed, twice refusing the chance to kill him.

God uses even the uncomfortable and painful experiences of life to teach us and make us into the kind of people He wants to be with Him in Heaven.  Sometimes we wonder why He allows certain things to continue, and sometimes there is no reason, no “why”, clearly discernible.

Sometimes we wait in comfort, desiring an opportunity to serve God in some specific way, and we are denied that opportunity.  We must look around for other, perhaps less fun or less prestigious, ways to serve.

I think in both of these times we may trust in God, that He is kneading us and shaping us, and giving us “rising time” to mature and become ready for the work He has for us to do.

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I am indebted to Casandra Martin and her book on the life of David, Echoing His Heartbeat, for the connection of David and Goliath to the basic idea that I had for this post.  It’s the second of her excellent in-depth studies I’ve done, and I’m getting a lot out of it.

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