‘Let patience have its perfect work’

My daughter and I devoured episodes of The Great British Baking Show like warm slices of bread fresh out of the oven. The contestants delighted us with their creative baking, and the judges provided expert feedback with warmth and good humor. On one show, one of the judges, a master bread baker, gave a rare piece of advice to the novice bakers: Be patient. Their challenge that day was to make ciabatta, and it was soon clear why patience with the rising process was key to the “perfect bake.” The contestant who waited the longest before putting her bread in the oven ended up with the star loaf.

I came away from that episode thinking about the real-life implications of that advice. For me, an important part of daily life is prayer—communion with God and listening for and following the direction that comes from that practice. So I thought about how this analogy of patience and leaven might apply to prayer in a way that brings meaningful progress and even healing to our lives.

There’s a story in the Bible, a parable, by which Christ Jesus illustrates the nature of the kingdom of heaven. He tells of a woman taking leaven and putting it into three measures of meal. The result was that the entire mass of what was baked was leavened (see Luke 13:20, 21). One thing this conveys to me is that when we quietly seek to understand the wisdom that is from God—the infinite Spirit that created us in its likeness—and internalize the truth we learn, we can undergo a change in thought, transforming us from the inside out. The result is a clearer view of a heaven we can experience right here on earth.

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