“Give us this day everything we need for the rest of our lives.” You’re right. It doesn’t say that. But what does it say?
Recently someone put a substantial check in our door offering. Sabra wasn’t with me at the time. When I told her about it, she and I said in unison, “I wonder what we’ll need this for?” After repenting for ending a sentence with a preposition, we thanked God and waited.
The word commonly translated “daily bread” is used only by Matthew and Luke in the Lord’s Prayer. Nowhere else in all the bible does it occur. No one has ever found it in all of ancient Greek literature either, and there is quite a bit of that. Did they coin a new word to describe God’s provision? That makes sense to me, seeing as how the World has never come up with anything like God’s idea of stuff and what to do with it, where it comes from and why. Literally the word means, “for existence” or “for being”. Bread for existence. Stuff we need to live.
So there I was late Friday night, noticing condensation on things in the refrigerator. That’s not good. I checked the freezer. Everything was soft and thawing. The lights were lit on the panel, but no one was home. Then I caught a whiff of ammonia. RV refrigerators are a marvel of engineering. With no moving parts, just heat and a pressurized coil system with chemicals (ammonia and hydrogen) that evaporate when heated and cool the frig when they condense, it is a model of elegant science. Until it blows. Then it just stinks and your food spoils.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven…” So now the generous gift was revealed in all its immediate usefulness. Always it seems to go this way. Last Spring someone dropped $1000 in the plate. We were humbled and encouraged and thankful. The next week the LWML zone presented us with $2000 to continue our work. Again, we were overwhelmed, just blown away. Less than a week later, so was our high-pressure fuel pump. A $900 part – and 23 hours of labor to install it. Do you own a diesel truck? This could be you! Yay! $3200 later, we were back on the road. The thing is, I believed what Jesus said about our Father knowing what we need before we ask. I believed it before we started this endeavor. But I did not anticipate how clearly and how often we would get to see firsthand such profound demonstrations of His anticipatory care and provision. And always there are two components: some generous individual, and some kind-hearted soul(s) to execute His provision. Whether the mobile RV repair guy who wasn’t listed anywhere but referred by someone too busy at the time to repair our trailer’s front legs, who would not accept payment after he was unable to repair them during the day and a half he spent trying, citing how much he himself had been blessed, and in the process teaching me how to fix them myself, which I later did; or Windy Chevrolet in Ellingham, Washington, who let us park in their lot while aforementioned fuel pump was replaced.
Now appears on a Saturday morning the RV Doctor, who spends winters at the park where our frig went belly up, who just happened to have a practically new refrigerator on hand - got it just the other day - for $1300 less than a standard replacement.
- Cost: $300
- Installation: $200
- Total: $500
- Substantial gift amount: $500
- Surprise: Not really.
- Encouragement: Tons.
Sure, you can keep a bag of (previously) frozen food in our freezer until you get your new frig installed, said the park’s front office. On and on it has gone. Kindness. Generosity. Just when you need it.
Over the course of these experiences I have become convinced that we are not a special case. Not at all. We have no special cadre of elite angels watching over us because of what we do, or for any other reason. No. This is normal, standard operating procedure for a mindful, patient, watchful and caring Father, who shows no favoritism and who knows what we need before we ask Him.