This has been the best year ever! Do you think I’m kidding? I’m not. It is 2020, the year of our Lord, and it is the time He has called me to be in service to Him. He did not ask my permission nor agreement about lockdowns, grievous restrictions, or any of the other things I have complained about this year (and may still since it is not over yet!). In the midst of all this, I and others like me, have learned what we actually can do without and what we consider a necessity. Hopefully, it has caused us to pray more realistically, and value His blessing anew every day (Lam. 3:22-23). The present should always be our window to our blessed future in Christ Jesus.
I was reading through J.I. Packer’s small book, Praying the Lord’s Prayer. In the chapter on “Our Daily Bread,” he comments,
J. B. Phillips correctly rendered this clause, “give us this (each) day the bread we need.” We are told to ask for bread, as the Israelites were told to gather manna, on a day-to-day basis: the Christian way is to live in constant dependence on God, a day at a time. Also, we are to ask for the bread we need; i.e., for the supply of necessities, not luxuries we can do without. This petition does not sanctify greed! Moreover, we must as we pray be prepared to have God show us, by his providential response of not giving what we sought, that we did not really need it after all.
Now comes the real test of faith. You, the Christian, have (I assume) prayed for today’s bread. Will you now believe that what comes to you, much or little, is God’s answer, according to the promise of Matthew 6:33? And will you on that basis be content with it, and grateful for it? Over to you.
So, here’s a recommendation. Let’s discard the spirit of discontent that this year has delivered in spades. And, let’s all stop using clichéd phrases that express this sentiment: the new normal, this crazy year, and all other things that prod us to be malcontents. And, let us adopt the gratitude that permeates the pages of Scripture, such as, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).
Twenty-twenty has been the medical way to say that one has excellent vision. Possibly God has given us a new “twenty-twenty” paradigm for our vision as His children, as we walk by faith rather than sight. May you be blessed this Christmas season and encouraged by the words of St. Paul in Philippians 4:6-9,
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.