Friday, July 6, 2012

The Present

"Give us today our daily bread." Matthew 6:11

I was challenged a couple years ago to pray through the Lord's prayer for several days. Line by line. Pausing to linger over each one. This line in particular pulled at something more. On the surface one could think you're literally praying for bread. Or food in general. And as I prayed, I was grateful for never having to worry about where my next meal would come from. Even when things have been tight, there has always been a meal before me. But as I prayed, I felt there was more. Something to this verse I was missing. So I asked God to reveal it to me. 

This week He did. It was Monday night and I was frustrated. I'd been back in the States for a week. I'd spent every day at my job wondering what the heck I was doing there. Fighting back tears and forcing a smile as my mind catapulted thoughts to months and years down the road. I realized I spend so much mental energy thinking about the future. In C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, a senior demon is writing to his nephew, a junior tempter on earth. The topic of time comes up...

"The humans live in time but our Enemy (referring to God) destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the present is the point at time at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them . . . Our business is to get [humans] away from the eternal and from the Present . . . It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear . . . In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity . . . But we want a man hagridden by the Future - haunted by visions of an imminent heaven or hell upon earth. . . " 

That...that unsettling world of the where I was living. My focus had drifted far from daily bread. I was asking God for meals for a year. Or the next five. And all He was asking me to do was live today. My roommate challenged me to change my prayers the next day at work. So I did. I prayed for strength to get through that day. I prayed for wisdom to handle encounters for that day. I prayed for words for conversations in the moment. And it took my focus off the future...the wondering how I would make it through the next month of work much less the next year...the fear of living out my Plan B for the rest of my life. And since that day I have been filled with incredible peace. Peace not from me. I am certain of that. Nothing in my circumstances has changed. Literally, nothing is different. In fact, if anything, I have more reason to be frustrated than before. But I'm not. I'm at peace. His peace. I firmly believe it's because I'm asking Him for daily bread. Asking Him to literally equip me with what I need to live each day for Him. 

This morning I listened to Lecrae's "Send Me." The song says "Send me, I'll go" and it reminded me of my commitment to go wherever God wants me to go, do whatever he wants me to do....even if that means going down to Lawrenceville to do my current job. I needed a little bit of an attitude adjustment (my mom has been encouraging me to have these little "AA's" since I was a child). I won't be here forever. And the "here" is really good. I just took my focus off it for awhile. 

Guatemala updates and pics coming soon...