"Look, there's some bread on your path!"
“Wait until you get older, time will fly by,” I recall being told by all the adults. I entered the fourth decade of life a few years ago. Gray hairs started to weasel their way into view, early-to-bed Friday nights became the norm, I began wearing readers…It seems a few days ago I was sitting in American Literature dreaming of my future and thankful to finally drive myself to school. 2019 came galloping toward me like a stallion over the hill, inevitably finding its way over my face and trampling my joints. Believe me, I feel the speed. And without warning, I am “middle-aged” and creaky. With youth and skinny bodies being the obsessions of American culture today, my mid-40’s self cranks up and waves the white flag: “No more! I can’t do it!” At the first signs of middle age we get lost in the panic. Some are tempted to keep up, to stay in the race. Some throw in the towel altogether. I find myself somewhere in between. I’ll still wander into the junior section at Marshall’s and find a few things. But by 8:00pm I could fall face forward into bed and not move until 7:30. My back hurts, my energy is depleted and I don’t care too much about the gray, so I wave my white flag…
So, like any self-reflective person facing another year, and knowing it will be Christmas again before I know it, I ask: What are my hopes and goals? What accomplishments do I need to prioritize? Where should I travel? What will happen this year that I won’t expect? How will my knees do this year? What joys and sorrows will fall into my 2019 calendar? Maybe you are like me and you overthink things every year on January 1st. Maybe you want to live more intentionally instead of being reactive. The past few months, as I have made some contemplative time a priority, I have noticed a theme sprinkle around my readings and thoughts. The most basic point of relationship with Jesus can sometimes get lost in all the interruptions of our fast-paced life. This one promise has re-grabbed my attention: “give me this day my daily bread.” What a hope-filled phrase. Enough for today. Trust the God of Heaven to know your needs and deliver his resources of peace, patience, forgiveness and hope. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own. “This day" our supply of bread will come. Oh, the simple promises of God. For the worn out, joint-aching, falling-asleep-watching-TV, scared of the future type people. God gives us enough and oftentimes, more than enough.
Americans live under the strain of great fear. We are watchmen, waiting for the wall to collapse on top of us. Shootings on the news, advertisements on repeat for security cameras to protect our vulnerable homes and families, raging fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and car accidents. We are terrified, and this oppressive fear steals our joy. We live on edge. We forget the promise. We don’t think we will wake up to any bread.
A command in Scripture repeated over and again is “do not fear.” Time is precious. We long for the Prince of Peace. The days ahead are to be lived in light of his mercy, kindness and father-hearted care, his provision of bread. Enough for this day. I wonder if we fail to notice the bread because we stay so busy and distracted. I wonder if our fear blinds us from the beauty that brings calm. Jesus exhorted the disciples, “Have eyes to see and ears to hear.” Let 2019 be a year to practice the healing discipline of being still. To stop racing about, to stop talking and instead listen and be attentive. Looking for the bread. Naming it. Talking about his mercies with your children, your neighbors, co-workers and friends. Like stars piercing through a clear, dark night, remain long enough to allow your vision to adjust in order to see the provisions of God in the midst of all the chaos of life. Being still and slowing down, clears out the fog, protects us from purposeless living and calms the fears. As you meander more this year, as you pay attention, as you pray, as you listen, as you sit…you will find some bread.