Our Daily BreadHe didn’t even ask for enough bread for tomorrow. Instead, He encouraged the disciples to ask for and trust God to provide just what they need for today.
I knew God was redirecting my course. After over a decade in the workforce, I was to return to school and complete my final year to earn a college degree: a degree I needed to meet the requirements of the path I believed God was calling me to. After wrestling with the decision for months, praying ceaselessly for God’s guidance, and pursuing wisdom from loved ones and trusted advisors, God had sent me plenty of confirmations. This was the next path for me. Although I felt certain that God was directing my steps and felt His peace about the decision once it was finally made, I worried about the financial logistics.
The problem was, in order to follow the path on which I believed God was leading me, I would need to resign from a secure job that provided financial security, great health benefits, and savings for retirement. In exchange for such security, I would have to drain whatever nest egg I had secured over the years to finance my schooling, drastically reducing my income, and forgoing retirement contributions for the foreseeable future.
How am I going to make ends meet? I thought to myself. And where will I be a year from now? Will I have enough to support myself? Will I ever financially recover? I began to question whether I had heard God correctly on this one. Surely He didn’t want me to sacrifice my financial security. Or did He? I was riddled with anxiety and confusion.
I worried I wouldn’t have enough over the coming year to make ends meet and that I would perhaps never have enough again. Fear quickly commandeered the driver’s seat of my mind and I began to suffer sleepless nights. During one such night of relentless tossing and turning, I recalled the Apostle Paul’s words regarding submitting one’s anxieties to God:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
I knew I needed to redirect my anxieties to God, but any time I sought quiet time and approached God in prayer, anxiety suffocated my thoughts and I was quickly at a loss for words. Unsure of the words to pray, I decided to go back to basics. I had memorized the Lord’s Prayer as a little girl, where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, and decided to recite Jesus’ words over and over.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”Matthew 6:9-13 NIV
As I recited the prayer over and over, Jesus’ words regarding “our daily bread” struck me, as it is in these words He teaches us what we should ask our Heavenly Father for regarding providing for our needs. His word choice was no doubt deliberate: “Give us today our daily bread.” Jesus didn’t say, “Give us today enough bread to last a year,” or, “Give us today enough bread for the upcoming month.” He didn’t even ask for enough bread for tomorrow. Instead, He encouraged the disciples to ask for and trust God to provide just what they need for today.
I realized my perspective was in need of a drastic shift. I had been all consumed with looking into the future, questioning whether I would have enough and how I would have enough in the coming months and years, when all I needed to focus on was today. I needed to ask and trust God to provide for my daily bread, not my year’s worth of bread. He would provide just enough for today. And tomorrow, I could trust Him to provide enough for tomorrow.
As I continued to reflect upon the Lord’s Prayer, God gently convicted my heart. My financial security blanket had been removed, revealing the hard truth that I had been placing my trust and faith in my bank account instead of God. With my faith increasingly placed in my finances instead of my provider, I had become consumed with the fear of not having enough. It took remembering the Lord’s Prayer to recognize that when it came to trusting God to meet my needs, all I needed to do was trust God to provide for today. As the Bible is full of directives to use financial wisdom and to be a good steward of that which God provides, I knew trusting God to provide on a day-to-day basis didn’t equate to living financially recklessly or failing to plan for the future. It just meant I needed to kick fear to the curb and let faith take over the driver’s seat of my mind, moving forward in confidence that my God will provide.
I too was encouraged by the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. When the disciples asked Jesus to send the crowds away so they could find something to eat, Jesus instructed them to do the impossible: “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16 NIV). Although the disciples were likely overcome with confusion and anxiety about how they would ever have enough to complete the task Jesus had assigned them, they presented what they did have: five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus then did the impossible. He took the little they had and multiplied it, providing not only enough for 5,000 men and many more women and children to eat to their full, He provided so abundantly that the disciples had twelve baskets of leftovers. He is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider.
As Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5,000 reminded me, my job isn’t to stress about whether I will have enough, or even worry about how God will provide. My job is to step forward in faith, follow God’s direction, commit what I do have to Him, and trust Him to provide. While I still battle anxieties about the future, I daily return to Jesus’ model for prayer, thanking God for all He has already provided and humbly asking Him to supply my daily bread.
When we harbor a heart of thankfulness, seek His will, and trust Him to provide, fear is displaced with faith, and we can rest assured that like the good Father He is, He will supply just what we need to get through today.