Daily Bread and Solar Eclipses

Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

— Matthew 6:9-13

I remember many times in my childhood pleading with my parents for an advance on my allowance — usually to buy some toy that I just had to have right away. Sometimes, my parents would indulge me, allowing me to get the toy; but as I grew older, they were less likely to do so.

Now that I’m a Dad, myself, I suspect they were very wisely aiming to adjust my attitude: I think they wanted me to appreciate what I already had more than I did, and they wanted me to be patient and diligent about my work.

As I kid, and sometimes today, I still find myself moving on to ‘the next thing’ too quickly, without stopping to appreciate the many blessings I already have. I buy this gadget, only to find that I ‘need’ the next one a short time later.

Ever been there?

Jesus’ disciples had been. They were often distracted by their own vision of the future, between wanting to know when Jesus would establish His Kingdom on Earth and wanting to know which ones of them would sit on His right and left (places of honor) in Heaven, they were very focused on ‘what comes after’.

So, I’m not terribly shocked to see Jesus taught his disciples to pray for what they needed that day. He often drew their attention back to the present when their focus stretched too far. Once, He even told them not to worry about tomorrow, because each day has enough trouble of its own.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
— Matthew 6:34

If I could see through Jesus’ eyes as I go through my days, I wonder how many blessings I would recognize. I suspect I would be much more aware of the providence of God in the everyday things.

Let me give you an example: as I am writing this, I had the opportunity, yesterday, to observe a solar eclipse; and I almost stayed inside. I had work to do, and it really seemed like people were getting overly excited about one thing passing in front of another.

I’m glad I chose to go outside. I got to watch as the giant, controlled explosion that is our sun which gives light and warmth to our whole planet was temporarily blocked from shining by the passing of the moon, our not-quite-as-giant-but-still-big-enough-to-be-walked-upon nightlight that helps churn the oceans’ tides.

Leading up to the eclipse, I heard rumors some were preparing for a cataclysmic event. That’s not what I saw. I saw two of the most visible gifts God has given us passing in the sky over distances that are tough to comprehend. One friend said it made him feel small. It made me feel loved.

But, as you might rightly point out, an eclipse is a major event, not a daily bread kind of thing, right?

You’re right, in that it’ll be a while before another opportunity like this one comes along; but, on that particular day, because I was willing to make the most of the opportunity, I was reminded, again, of His great love for me.

How many eclipses will we miss, today, because we simply refuse to take the time to look and appreciate them? How many times do we fail to notice even the small gifts that make life better?

From vast cosmological events to the simplest of meals, our “daily bread”, if you will, they can all serve as blessings, if we choose to put on the right glasses and see them from His perspective.

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