Give Me This Day

Recently, The Holy Spirit has been opening my eyes to a reality that I had always known, but never truly experienced.  And as it so happens, He has used the circumstances of my life to tutor me and teach me this invaluable lesson.

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He instructed them to ask their Heavenly Father for enough bread to sustain them for that day.  The phrase as most of us have learned it goes..."And give us this day our daily bread."

For Palestinian farmers and peasants who heard these words, they rang true because they were reality.  They knew what it was to live from hand to mouth, day by day, with perhaps only a loaf of bread to sustain their bodies and fill their bellies.  They didn't stockpile food in pantries, closets and cupboards.  Starvation was as close as a failed crop or a draught.

The essence of this admonition is that we should pray for, and expect God to give us enough (grace, patience, understanding, provision) for the current moment.  Jesus knew that our tendency is to always fret, worry, and stress over the future.  He encourages us to be content with God's provision for today.

I am learning this reality by living this reality.

As I care for my dying father, I am daily plagued by anxiety.  What will my world be like without my dad?  What if he dies while I am out of the country (like my mom)?  What if he has to go to a nursing home?  What if I have to make the "end of life" decisions that I've always dreaded making?  How will we pay for long-term care if he continues to get worse?  These are normal and expected questions.

Yet there are no simple answers to these questions.  There are only more uncertainties, followed by more anxiety and fear.  When I begin to look past the cares of TODAY, I become overwhelmed by the fears of TOMORROW.

That is why Jesus spoke of God giving us daily bread.  He is faithful to provide what we need right now.  Look to Him for the immediate need.  Trust His goodness for the moment you are in.  When you have a need tomorrow, His daily grace will meet you there, but not until tomorrow comes.

My prayer lately has been simply, "Give me this day...what I need for today.  And when I get to tomorrow, give me what I need when I get there."

Let's try praying like Jesus told us to.  It won't magically erase all your cares and fears, but it will slowly erode the anxiety of the future with the tangible presence of God's daily grace in the form of daily bread.