“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” John 6:35 (NIV)
At times, I’ve looked at prayer requests like Amazon Prime deliveries.
I want to know I’ll get what I ask for. I want what’s delivered to look like what I expected and to arrive in record time. And then I will feel so close to God because He did what I wanted!
I’m not proud of this. I’m challenged by it. Because there’s something too human and predictable about that being the way prayer actually works. Then my prayers become orders I place, the answers as cheap as products, and the sender nothing more than a far-removed entity I give little thought to until I need something else.
I want to change this. I want to come to God with my needs, my desires, my hunger and recognize that whatever He places before me is His daily bread. When Jesus taught us what to pray each day, His first request was for daily bread. But isn’t it true that bread took on many different forms in the Bible?
Sometimes it looks like a loaf from the oven, (Leviticus 2:4) other times like manna from heaven, (Deuteronomy 8:3) or best of all, like Jesus who declared Himself as the bread of life. (John 6:35) All three are God’s perfect provision. But with our human eyes, we would probably only recognize the loaf of bread as good and most fitting, and what a tragedy that would be.
The loaf of bread may be what I want from God, but isn’t the loaf the least miraculous of all the forms of bread? It’s the kind of provision we have to work to receive from the ground, harvesting the wheat, processing it and then baking it — all with our own hands. But maybe that’s what I like so much about the loaf of bread. Since I’m working for it, I have a sense of control over it.
Manna represents what God simply gives. The manna that fell from heaven for the children of Israel was God’s perfect sustenance, even though it looked more like little seeds or flakes rather than loaves of bread. And yet it came directly from God, day by day, and kept more than 2 million Israelites alive in the desert for the 40 years they needed it. It was miraculous.
But even with manna, people had some part to play. They had to go outside their tents to pick it up. They didn’t grow it, but they could count on it.
Control and consistency make me feel like I’m trusting God when, in reality, I’m just counting on Him to the level that He comes through for me.
The best kind of bread, though, is the bread of life: Jesus Himself. This isn’t provision we work for or provision we simply pick up; this is provision in Christ deposited inside of us that nourishes and sustains us all the way down to our souls.
In John 6:35, “Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” Jesus is the most miraculous provision, and the one already given to us today — but maybe the one least recognized as being everything we need.
And I know you might be saying, “Look, Lysa, what’s in front of me is awful, so this doesn’t make me want to trust God more. It makes me trust Him less!” I understand that. I feel the same way about some of what’s in front of me right now too.
If we have Jesus today, we are living in answered prayer and provision. The One who brings about good, even from the awful we are seeing with our physical eyes, is actively working on our behalf right now. He is talking to the Father about you right now in ways that, if you could hear Him, would make you never afraid of what is in front of you. Never question His love for you or His goodness to you.
We see only what the human mind can imagine, but God is building something we cannot even fathom. We may see it in time, or not until eternity. But until we see it, we can know with certainty that whatever He gives us truly is His good provision, whether that good is for today or part of a much bigger plan.
So today, friends, we can pray what we need to pray. Pray all the words, let the tears flow into sobs and frustrations mixed with hope. And then, we can look at what’s right in front of us through what we know to be true about God. And trust Jesus to eventually make something beautiful from it.
Jesus, thank You for being the perfect sustenance that I need today. I look to You as the Bread of Life. Help me when I’m struggling as I wait for my prayers to be answered in Your perfect timing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Psalm 54:4, “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” (NIV)
Is a beautiful life even possible when you’ve experienced so much pain? Walk through a step-by-step process to free yourself from the hurt of your past and present with the help of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, Forgiving What You Can’t Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories and Create a Life That’s Beautiful Again. Preorder your copy here, and start reading the first 3 chapters immediately!
You can follow along with Lysa TerKeurst on Instagram.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
Even in the midst of prayers you’re longing for God to answer, how has Jesus Himself shown up as “bread of life” provision for you recently? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
© 2020 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.