I know this is hard to imagine, but as a child, I wasn’t always the best choice maker. I was known to be stubborn and hard-headed, and could give my parents a run for their money. When I wanted something, I wanted it right now…and no one (not even my parents) were gonna tell me no. With dad often working, 40+ hours a week plus commute time, mom was home with us more than he was, and thus was often the one who bore the brunt of my attitude problems. I can recall hearing mom say something like “we’ll deal with this when your dad gets home.” Oh, the fear those 5 little words would instill. “When your dad gets home…”
Of all the times I remember hearing those words, I don’t ever recall feeling good about what was to come…no excitement. No joy. No peace. Nope…those words meant trouble was on the horizon. I had done something that was soon to be bringing the wrath of God down upon me. (okay, maybe not God, but I was a kid…might as well have been God when the man you admire and respect was coming home to rain down punishment on me).
I would usually wait with dread and despair for what was coming. Hide in my room and hope she’d forget to tell him. Hope he would be too tired to deal with it. Pray for divine intervention. Never did I pray for the discipline that was to come. I was desperately praying for a reprieve from the belt…never once did I pray to actually receive the belt. What child in his right mind would pray to be disciplined?!
“Father give us this day, our daily bread…” When we hear that, we usually equate “daily bread” with good things…things like our food and nourishment. When asked how we should pray, Christ’s response was to first show us our need for total reliance on the Father for our daily sustenance…for all we need. When God rained down manna from the heavens for His people, He supplied their need…gave them exactly what they needed for that day…no more…no less. I don’t know how it tasted, but I can imagine after eating the same thing over and over for awhile, what they wanted was a nice juicy steak, cut thick and cooked just right, with some steamed vegetables and warm garlic bread on the side. But they didn’t get what they wanted…they got what they needed.
And that’s just one of the awesome things about God. He gives us what we need, right when we need it…in His timing, not ours. Whether we realize we need it or not. We’re His children. And like children often do, sometimes what we need is discipline. As painful as the discipline can be, as scary as it is to face, as much as we dread it…it’s necessary. We’re children. Children need discipline. Not necessarily punishment…discipline. Punishment is anger-based. Discipline is love-based. God doesn’t punish us…He disciplines us. Because He loves us. So when we ask God for our daily bread, are we truly prepared to accept it, even if it’s not steak and eggs? Are we willing to accept our daily bread, even when what we truly need today is to be disciplined?
Lord, may I be willing to accept your discipline, along with your provision. Thank you for loving me enough to recognize my need, even when I can’t. Thank you for loving me enough to discipline me so that I would come back into fellowship with you. Thank you for overlooking my grumblings when the daily bread you provide is the manna I need, not the steak and eggs I want.