Monday, July 4, 2011

Prayer: Life vs Survival

"Our Father...Give us this day our daily bread." (Matt. 6:9, 11)

It's interesting that only a few chapters back from when Jesus says this he's in the desert, without food for forty days and slowly wasting away before the devil shows up to tempt him. We need food to survive, but Jesus faced the devil in complete human weakness. Did God not provide what Jesus needed to be healthy and to survive? There was no bread to be found in the desert, yet after the devil tempts him to turn stones into bread Jesus responds, "Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." He was quoting Deuteronomy 8 when Moses is reminding the Israelites that God provided manna for them in the desert and reminding them that God's word provided for them. The manna, they needed it, but without God's word speaking and making it happen, they wouldn't have the manna. Manna allowed them to survive, but God's word allowed them to really live, though they never really understood it.

So Jesus trusted God to sustain him in the desert and to give him life more than mere survival. For him it was trusting in God even in the midst of extreme physical hunger.

Jesus tells us to pray that God would give us our daily bread. It's a call to trust God to take care of us. In John 6 Jesus said that he was the bread from heaven. In other words, he is the One we most desperately need to live and be satisfied.

So we pray, trusting that God won't abandon us and will take care of us. Jesus said that God knows what we need before we ask him. And that we're to ask for what we need relentlessly.

We can trust that God will give us himself and that, as a father, he will provide for more than just what we merely need to survive. He is eternal life, not eternal survival. Life with God is an unrelenting adventure as we wake up each day, not knowing exactly what's going to happen, but trusting that we can find genuine satisfying life in him in the midst joy and chaos.

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