We can use the word “mad” to mean “angry.” While the Father has a full range of emotional depth and can assuredly feel anger, He isn’t mad at your process or progress as we might think. Mad can also mean “insane,” and He is most certainly not that either. So what am I talking about? As I do most nights and as I wake up at various points, I’ll ask God to speak something to my heart–a scripture, a phrase, a picture, whatever He wants. In the early hours of Sunday morning, I did this again. It wasn’t until I was waking up to my alarm, that I heard “punching down” and almost as quickly saw bread dough. I haven’t made a lot of bread in my life, but I’ve made a few loaves. One of the things I know the recipe called for was to allow the yeast to sit and the dough to rise. If you’ve ever seen this process, it is fairly fascinating! Once it gets good and big, you punch the dough down, softly bringing your fist to the bottom of the bowl or container. It deflates and you allow it to rise again (and potentially repeat this process multiple times). I was reminded of Luke 13:20 TPT where Jesus said, “God’s kingdom is like something as small as yeast that a woman kneads into a large amount of dough. It works unseen until it permeates the entire batch and the loaf rises high.” The Kingdom of God is like yeast. I was curious, however, what is the purpose of punching down then?
Various baking resource guides offered illumination. When you punch down the dough, you compact everything and release the gas bubbles so that the yeast is able to feed on the sugars and moisture so that it will ferment and rise again. It is said to enhance the flavor and the texture as well as produce a finer grain (think no giant holes when you cut it open). Honestly, I have been feeling “punched down” lately. I know part of it is how many directions I’ve been going in rapid succession. From ministry to family to team issues to church family tragedy, there’s no shortage of things to do and process. I felt not only exhausted, but weary. When I first saw the picture of pressing down the dough, I could easily visualize a large fist pressing down the top of my head and going all the way down to my feet.

He’s not mad/angry or mad/crazy.

Pressures aside, I felt the comfort of it in those moments. Sometimes it feels as if things are happening to you because God is upset. Other times it feels as if the enemy is behind it all and has an all access pass to your body, emotions, or whatever else. Neither is true. He is Lord and it’s His process. Just as He is the Master Gardener who prunes the branches on the Vine, He is caring for the dough that represents your life. He’s gently pressing down to push out the extraneous, the distractions, the hindrances–allowing the yeast of the Kingdom to take more and more precedence. As I prayed though this Sunday morning before our service, it touched me so deeply as I prayed again, “kingdom come” as Jesus instructed us to pray in His model prayer. The Kingdom is not simply coming around me, but growing and being displayed within me. It changes your flavor to heaven’s flavor. Your texture is more pleasing to Him and even to the world. The “holes” are pushed out and filled in to His glory. The purity of Kingdom expression that comes from you is more and more perfected because He lovingly cares for and furthers the process. When you submit to this, it becomes something beautiful even in the uncomfortable.

How about you? Have you been in a “punching down” time lately? What are your thoughts on this?

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