Consider this passage from the book of Luke (taken from biblegateway.com’s NASB translation):
11 It happened that while [a]Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” 2 And He said to them, “When you pray, say:
‘[b]Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 ‘Give us each day our [c]daily bread.
4 ‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
5 Then He said to them, “[d]Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children [e]and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his [f]persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9 “So I say to you, [g]ask, and it will be given to you; [h]seek, and you will find; [i]knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.
During my exceptionally painful months after breaking up with Stacey, a girl that I dated for 4.5 years, I had this passage take on a completely new and tangible meaning to me. In particular, verse 3 was brought to my attention. This was always the least meaningful part of this passage to me, but now, by far, it’s the most important. Let me provide some back-story to this.
When I was trying to get Stacey back, I was convinced that she was the woman that I was to marry and that I wholeheartedly wanted to marry. So when I was completely rejected, ignored and was told not to contact her, a storm within me, unlike anything I had ever gone through, was unleashed. I had no idea what was coming at that time nor how long the pain would last for. It stirred up all of my greatest insecurities, most of my near and long-term fears, and was the loneliest time I’ve ever experienced in my life. I felt physically alone, mentally alone, emotionally alone – completely alone. There have been many times before when I felt very alone, but this time was different. This time I felt disproportionately alone and abandoned. I felt like nobody – not my family, not my closest friends, not even myself, had the answers of how to feel better. And then, a wise person in my life gave me great counsel as a gift from God. He told me to ask God to give me my daily bread, to literally provide what I needed in any shape or form, each and every day. It was to be a step-by-step, day-by-day journey. I decided at that time that since I have no other hope, it was either trust that the God I profess my trust in, would actually provide what I need to be whole again, and in the appropriate timing, or die. I realized I’d never actually had to do that before in my entire life – at least not nearly to that magnitude.
This is the main theme of what I’m reflecting on – God providing us exactly what we need each day. I’m obviously not talking about providing us with wealth and prosperity. I’m talking about what we all desperately want and need – to be loved, to know that we are loved, to feel deeply that we are loved. We want safety, we want to belong. If we all truly had this and believed this, we would all no longer fill our lives with so many superficial things and activities. Our relationships – with God, with ourselves and with others, would take precedence over everything. And this did change everything for me. I’ve prayed most days right when I wake up for God to be and to give me my daily bread, and just like he promised in verse 9 that if we ask, what kind of father won’t give his son/daughter what they absolutely long for? The days that I’ve truly cried out to God to give me my daily bread have been days of amazement and wonder. I’ve been given bread of many different shapes and kinds, and they’ve come early in the day and sometimes at the last hour. But they’ve come, and they’ve filled me up! And even still, some days I completely forget or downplay just how much I rely on God giving me my daily bread to make it through a day. Even with a mental list a mile long of days and days of faithfulness and provision given to me from God, I still forget to ask! Therefore, I’m now convinced that one of my greatest daily practices is to live my life out of need. If I’m not connected to my need, then I can’t ask God to provide. If God’s not providing for me, then I will eventually break or die. Even on my most confident days, my period of utter despair taught me that I am one circumstance away from complete brokenness. Those days that I think or feel otherwise are only a delusion. Living life out of honest and pure need is the most perfect place to live. Go read the beatitudes again – this is exactly the point of all of them. When we need things from God, his kingdom is near! When we don’t, we reject God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom therefore is bringing personal wholeness to each of us and then through us, to the entire world.
I believe this – I’ve experienced this. I wouldn’t wish the despair I went through on anyone, but I do wish for the lesson that I learned to be learned by everyone. I’m not sure this lesson can be thought about only and then acted upon. It’s a lesson that is learned through brokenness. So my encouragement to anyone reading this is the next time you go through something hard, don’t try to medicate the pain through people or things. Try taking God at his word for once literally expecting that the only way you’ll ever feel whole again will be through God providing you exactly what you need, each day. That’s a beautiful place to live, and I promise that you will begin to experience the love, acceptance and belonging that you long for.