Give us each day our daily bread . . . Luke 11:3
For most of us, it’s only in times of need and distress that we turn to God. When life is good, we just don’t find ourselves motivated to pray, seek God’s will, or follow him. When we’re comfortable, we simply go our own way.
It was only in losing my job, nearly destroying my marriage, and going to treatment for my drug addiction, that I began to learn dependence on God. I don’t know that I consciously thought I was self-sufficient prior to this. I lived though, as if I was a self-made man, who didn’t really need God. My failure and subsequent fall exposed the lie and fragility of my self-reliance though.
In today’s passage, Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, telling them to ask God for their daily bread. Some interpret this to mean our physical needs, while others feel it’s a metaphor for spiritual sustenance. I think it likely means both, in which case Jesus taught that we must daily ask him to meet all of our needs, physically and spiritually.
The problem for us, is that most of us don’t constantly live in a condition where we obviously feel our need. Most of us have food, shelter, and clothing. We may be familiar with intermittent need if we are sick or in some life crisis. Most of us though, do not live in a state of awareness of our dependence on God.
What I learned in my disaster, is that everything I have is mine by God’s hand. Self-sufficiency is a mirage. That was easy to see in the misery. Now that life has returned to normal though, it’s my nature to once again forget dependence on God. I’m fine now. Thanks for helping back there God. I’ve got this now.
Jesus answer to this self-deception, is to daily pray, asking God to meet our physical and spiritual needs. In consciously choosing to go to God, asking him to sustain me, I continually remind myself of my dependence. I thank him for what I have, and I ask him to continue to provide for me. It’s a simple prayer, but as often as I pray it, it changes my attitude, from one of self-reliance to dependence on God.
Self-sufficiency is a lie that leads us away from God. Consciously acknowledging our dependence turns our face towards him, where we find life, faith, and recovery.