Stories from a life in progress.

Daily bread

I stopped at the grocery store to get a couple of things, and was struck by the thought of daily bread, as in "give us today our daily bread."  How foreign that idea really is to me.

I live in the midst of real abundance as regards available food.  I don't have to ask for the day's bread to be provided, many days' worth of food are available in this house.  I know the prayer also means asking for what we need in a more general sense, and that "daily bread" is a metaphor for all the things we need on a regular basis.  But Jesus was specific in saying daily bread.  He chose a concrete need that reoccurs every day, one of the rock-bottom needs of human life.  It's not only a metaphor.  He's talking about a literal thing, and it's one I'm having a lot of trouble relating to.

What would it be like to receive only one day's worth of food at a time?  I know many people in the world experience this, but I never have.  I'm thoroughly blessed in the abundance of food available to me, I know.  But because of it, I lose the opportunity to make this prayer a practical test of faith.  I have not experienced God's direct, daily provision of a basic need.  Which means I haven't got the confidence that comes from putting trust in someone and having them come through.  There's no trust like proven trust, and if I never give God the chance to prove his trustworthiness, I can't actually gain that kind of trust in him.

There are other opportunities to trust God and ask for his provision, certainly.  But I'm not sure anything is quite as powerful as having a basic, daily need met, day by day, by a loving Father.  To experience the clockwork regularity of his active presence, providing what is vitally needed.  To feel hunger fade into contentment, and know with absolute certainty who is responsible -- to be able to draw a clear and direct line of gratitude, in the moment, for God's action as it happens.

Do I trust God with my physical needs?  Honestly?  Not really.  Not strongly.  I pray more often for emotional needs, relational things, stuff that you can't lay your hands on or set your eyes on, can't experience in a physical way with your physical body and its potent senses.  Nothing is quite as real to us as the physical.  Do I let God work in the physical, literal, practical levels of my life?  Do I look for him to provide solid things to meet my serious needs, food to eat and clothes to wear?  Do I trust him to take care of my body and my health and provide things for me to use and live by using?  If I was hungry and had no way to provide food for myself, do I really believe that he would provide it?