I’m not sure about you, but that is what I often see myself inserting into the Lord’s Prayer–at least in terms of my anxiety, aspirations, and my actions. Sometimes it feels like God will plant seeds of thought into my “soil” without me knowing. Then suddenly, like a gardner who definitely didn’t plant “that”, I am surprised to find myself meditating on a word, a portion of Scripture, or an image. For the past few weeks, this meditation focus point has been “My Daily Bread”.
Many of us are familiar with the story of Manna, provided by God to the Israelites during their 40 year hike through the wilderness so the people wouldn’t starve. One of the stipulations given to the Israelites by God was that they could only collect as much Manna as they would need for that day. Apparently there was enough to provide for more than just one day, because several people tried to collect more–you know, plan for the future needs of their family. Well, apparently God felt the need to use some dramatic flare in enforcing the previously stated rule, so the excess bread rotted and became inedible. It would seem that God was trying to make a point.
One point that God could have been making goes back to our tendency to hoard as much of the available resources as possible, often at the expense of those around us who find themselves lacking them. As we read through Scripture it is quite evident that God puts several practices in place in order to protect “the least of these” among us. The practice of only taking as much bread as the Israelites would need for that day could certainly have been put in place for that purpose.
I also wonder if God was trying to promote a way of life that would lend itself to far less anxiety, while simultaneously offering the chance to prove that the Israelites could, without question, depend on the sustenance God was promising day after day after day. This is where my meditations have taken me. I too often find myself worrying about the future. I am often carrying a great deal of stress around questions of finances, career aspirations, and the overall needs of my family.
The funny thing is that today, we are fine. All of my anxiety revolves around questions about tomorrow. God might not be throwing a mystery food down to me, but I do believe that the lesson the Israelites were being forced to learn deeply applies to me. It is foolish to worry too much about how I will manage to make ends meet tomorrow. I feel God nudging me into Today. I feel God giving me a “love-tap” when I start to overthink how the next year will look. I feel God telling me that there is something unhealthy about not being present in the moment, and there is a huge blessing readily available when I am. The blessing of peace. The blessing of my daughter’s smile. The blessing of being able to afford the food that we currently have in our refridgerator. The blessing of laughing at funny videos online with my wife. The blessing of letting go of the need to secure tomorrow in exchange for fully experiencing today.