Once, on what seemed like one of the worst days of my life, I sat down and was about to do my usual morning bible reading and as usual I began with the Lord’s prayer.
I of course eventually got to this bit: Matthew 6:11 Give us today our daily bread. -and I knew that God was trying to get though to me.
I wonder how much joy we rob ourselves when we come to God with certain expectations. Moreover, how much more when we try to ‘run our relationship with God’ on the same terms as the world encourages us to run our relationships.
Because, you know, we want it all….Now.
I thought back to the Old Testament imagery event to which this verse really connects with; the feeding of the Israelite by manna in the desert.
Exodus 16: 16 This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.'” 17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little…… 19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.
There’s a promise here, that God will provide the food needed…..
One day at a time.
If that is the promise, then the only reason why people would have tried to gather more than they needed was because they were worried about tomorrow.
But the only reason that they would be worried about tomorrow is because they don’t really trust that God’s provision will extend far past thier own perspective.
In other words I realized as I sat on my couch, that so much of my joy in God is robbed by my own expectations and ideas about what I need, and superimposing them on God’s promise.
This is actually another way of telling God that his promises aren’t good enough.
I realized that I had been pining for a ‘Damascus road’ or ‘Sea of Galilee’ experience so much, that in lieu of these things there was a place in my heart that was disappointed with God. Weirdly, I’d turned a dream of a cataclysmic experience of God into an idol, blocking me from…. experiencing God’s presence!
In this moment, in this state, we’re no better than the pharisees that ‘demand a sign’ from Jesus. We’re no better than the person who says, “we’ll if God does ‘x’ then and and only then will I believe.”
Maybe trying to fit God into our own categories is one of the primary things that rob us of his presence.
But God is so loving that through his Word illuminated by his Spirit, he comes to us and says; ‘If you really want to know me, then you’ll have to do it my way.’
What’s his way?
One day at a time.
It’s not until we accept this and just seek God day by day, do we realise what God has been trying to do in us for so long…create in us a clean heart….of faithfulness and humility. I have found that as I have relinquished my unhealthy and demanding expectations of how God works, the strangest thing has happened; I have experienced the most amazing moments of his presence, the most fascinating insights to his word and lastly; been granted a thirst for heaven replacing my fear of eternity.
The only way to follow God is to do it his way, and it starts by praying this prayer:
Lord, I simply ask you today, for my daily bread. Amen.