You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth

On Sunday night, my wife and I prayed that God would provide for us for the week. After thinking about Paul saying, “if we have food and clothing, we should be content” it is either the smartest prayer or the most frightening. Maybe both. I don’t know anymore.

But Monday frightened me. It went well and beyond its normal Monday-ness. After spending a significant amount of money to fix my car so I could sell it, it runs more poorly. The AC is acting up in the mini-van. And some bad news.

Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread

Part of me wonders if God is sticking it us. Another part is hoping he’s helping us be content with “daily bread.” Have I done something to be punished for? Am I reaping what I’ve sown? Or is this him saying, “I want to provide for you in a way that makes it obvious I am providing for you.”

Did You ever know loneliness
Did You ever know need
Do You remember just how long a night can get?

All I know is, it is not easy living by faith in his provision for daily bread when surrounded by so much wealth and ease. This is not an insult to the wealthy. My heart simply reaches out for those things and grabs at them the same way Bilbo grabbed at the Ring as it hung around Frodo’s neck.

And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained

Intellectually, I can say to myself what I “know” to be true. Or at least what I would tell others if they came to me. You know, “Preach the gospel to yourself…” and all that. I would remind them of God’s love for his children. I know these things. But that story is playing on an old black and white 12 inch. The broken things are playing in high definition. I need those things to reverse at least on occasion. That would be nice.

And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this somehow
All I really need to know…

Regardless, I find myself more hungry for hope in the Scriptures than ever. I figure that if it cannot be there, there is really no hope to be found. Not in food. Or clothing. Or fixed cars.

Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can’t see what’s ahead
And we can not get free of what we’ve left behind
I’m reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt blame and regret

I can’t see how You’re leading me unless You’ve led me here
Where I’m lost enough to let myself be led
And so You’ve been here all along I guess
It’s just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get

*lyrics by Rich Mullins, Hard to Get