Bread doesn’t grow on trees. If I want to make bread, I have to use flour. Flour typically comes from a grain, such as wheat.

Grain  ⇒  Flour  ⇒  Bread

We once lived in a place with less strict processing standards than the United States FDA. Sometimes, a few kernels of our rice retained their tough outer hulls. That hull was like the shell of a nut! It was difficult to break with your hands and almost impossible to chew. We checked and cleaned our rice to remove those pieces before we cooked. Other grains grow the same way.

Wheat is of little use while
it’s standing in the field.

Before the grains come to us, grain farmers put great effort into growing high-quality grain. It may be strong and look beautiful standing there in the field, but it has very little use in that form. The grain already has a purpose, but it isn’t fit for that purpose just yet.

In order to convert grain into bread, the grain must change. First, it must be harvested–cut from the stalk which has sustained it. Then, it is threshed to remove the tough outer hull of each grain berry. Next, it must be winnowed, which separates the berry from the chaff. Finally, the berries must be ground into a coarse powder that will mix with water and whatever else we plan to use for the finished product.

02-21 cinnamon rolls baking breakfast
just one of many great uses for flour (c) Carole Sparks

Here’s a fun, 5-minute explanation of how to make flour from wheat.

Threshing.

Winnowing.

Grinding.

Without the grain’s sacrifice,
we wouldn’t have bread.

I love the smell of freshly-baked bread. Bread fills our stomachs, delights us, and symbolizes friendship when we share it. But without the grain’s sacrifice, without all the punishment each grain endures, we wouldn’t have bread.

Do you see where I’m going here?

“A badly bruised soul is one who is chosen.” -Streams in the Desert, June 19

Can we consider our
struggles a privilege?

We go through struggles. We get beaten up, tossed around, ground down, burned out. It feels like punishment at the time. Can we, instead, consider it privilege? Can we look forward to the “pleasing aroma” (2 Corinthians 2:15) we will give off for God’s glory? A finished loaf of bread (or pan of rolls) blesses many.

God knocks off the hard, outer shells we’ve allowed to grow around ourselves. He blows away the empty husks (the chaff), and He allows us to be ground—not for the pain of it but for the resulting glory. That brokenness is necessary for God’s glory, others’ blessing, and our own maturity. In other words, brokenness is the calling of every believer.

Want more on the purpose of our presence as Christ-followers? Check out this post: Sheep and Grapes.

Our difficulties: Are they punishment or privilege? If we want to be useful for the Kingdom, we must count them as privilege. Also, bread is good. My #brokenness is #NotAboutMe, via @Carole_Sparks. (click to tweet)

Have you previously considered the flour-making process? I’m just learning, and I would appreciate your input. Do you see other parallels to the Christ-life? Please share in the comments below!

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