Bread of Presence, Bread of Life—Part 3

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by Denise Marie Siino on June 1, 2015

It’s very important when talking about God’s provision to have the right perspective. That is why I ended last week’s blog post by saying that according to both Old and New Testament “rules,” we as a race of people deserve nothing from God’s hand. So biblically speaking, that is our starting point. Where does the discussion go from here?

Whereas we deserve nothing in this life, God is indeed gracious as the Giver of every gift of goodness we receive. Certain gifts He gives to the entire human race. That includes a terrestrial home just close enough to the sun and just far away from it to sustain our lives, sunlight and rainfall, harvest, home and family in which to grow up, and work to plenish our tables and give our lives purpose.

Sometimes however life goes awry. Or perhaps I should say life went awry a very long time ago. In my work and travels as a journalist covering stories in the cities, slums, and countrysides of parts of America as well as Central and South America, I have seen what I call the underbelly of existence…human deprivation at its worst. Some ask, “How can a good God allow such suffering?” But here is a hard truth: that isn’t a fair question. We suffer the consequences of a fallen world…a world of our own choosing, not God’s. If God had His way, we’d all still be living in Eden.

This is the world we as Christians live in. This is also the world in which God provides for us. Yes, Christians will struggle to make ends meet; we are not exempt from the veracities of this fallen world. In John 16:33, Jesus said to His followers, “In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration…” (Amplified Bible). But as I look into the eyes of Christians and listen to their stories…as I pay attention to my own life experiences…a single principle of God’s constant, consistent provision for His children (His true Christ followers) rises above the vales of our existence and rings true.

God gives to us, each day, our daily bread.

Haven’t we heard this phrase before? Ah yes, it is part of what we call The Lord’s Prayer, the only example of prayer Jesus ever gave to his followers. And as I look around the parts of the world that I have seen with my own eyes, I see God providing daily bread to each of His modern day disciples. That daily bread will look differently from the Ukraine to Uganda, Canada to Chili, Vietnam to Vanuatu, Tasmania to Turkey, the Arctic to the Antarctic. But as we seek God and His kingdom, as we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” God does provide, and will provide until Jesus Christ comes again to set things aright.

Jesus did not, however, teach us to pray for a flush retirement account, or all the comfort and ease we long for as we grow older. In fact, Jesus seems to have preached against such ideas. In Luke 12:16-21, we read the following:

Then Jesus spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded 
plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no 
room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and 
build greater [barns], and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say 
to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, 
drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required 
of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

I am not going to try and interpret this parable; it is for each of us to meditate on and pray over. I will say that historically the Church through the ages has taught Paul’s message in 2 Corinthians 8 about taking the increase of what God has given us to help provide for those in need so that everyone has enough. This is what God’s kingdom looks like as long as we abide on this earth. This too is part of His plan of provision.

Finally, I want to share a truth that is critical to understanding God’s provision during times of hardship, even extreme difficulty—God is always present, always near. In the words of the famous prayer/hymn called “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” (written 433 A.D.): Christ is before, behind, beneath, above, to my right, to my left, when I lie down, when I arise. Christ lives within my heart through the presence of the Holy Spirit, and He is at this very moment at the right hand of God the Father Almighty making intercession for me, and for you.

“Do you really think I would not take care of you?” This is the God-thought I shared at the end of Part 1 of this series…God’s reply to my confusion over his acts of provision in my life. At the time, it reflected what God knew was a lack of trust in Him. Today I can share with you this: If God is so very near, so very present, then He is fully aware of our daily needs, and He will take care of us.

 

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Bread of Presence, Bread of Life—Part 2

May 26, 2015
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I have never painted myself into a corner, but I have unwittingly mopped myself into one. When that happens, you have to very carefully pick your way across the wet floor and hope you don’t track footprints. That’s the way I feel about my last blog post, knowing that I would have to gingerly make […]

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Bread of Presence, Bread of Life—Part 1

May 16, 2015
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I know a lot of people who are struggling financially right now.  They say the recession is lifting but it hasn’t lifted for my friends, or truth be told, for me.  Or maybe I should say for the entities I write for.  As a freelance writer I depend on businesses, newspapers and magazines with money […]

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And God Said: Listen Up!

March 27, 2015
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Every year at Lent I pray about what I need to do, not do, give up or take on.  Of course a person can do a bit of soul-searching any time of year, but given Lent’s significance in Church history, there is something special about participating with other Christians around the world, past and present, […]

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Standing for Christ

February 23, 2015
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I listened with great sadness to last week’s news about the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians by ISIS in Libya.  While I have not tracked all of the “public” murders ISIS has performed in the past, it seems that – besides punishment for unpaid ransoms – they often target journalists and unsuspecting aid workers, and […]

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Farewell to General Don Crowley

January 28, 2015
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If you have been following my blog for any length of time then you know I write about people who have impacted my life and recently died.  Don Crowley (1932-2015) is one of these individuals. I met Don, a retired Army chaplain (who achieved the rank of colonel with the Army and brigadier general with […]

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Those Wise Guys – Finale

January 15, 2015
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As I watched the wise men head for home in my imaginative musings, I was left with a handful of questions to ponder.  If the Jewish spiritual leaders were aware of the wise men’s search of the child born King of the Jews – in other words, the Jewish Messiah – why did they not […]

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