I sought the Lord, who answered me, delivered me from all
my fears. -- Psalms 34:5
Give us today our daily bread.-- Matthew 6:11
Of all that I could possibly wish for, deliverance from all my fears tops
Imagine a worry-free life, or even one worry-free day: No fears about anything
that might befall your kids, your parents, your spouse, your closest beloved
friend. No worries at all about war, the economy, the elections, local property
taxes, or whether you’ll find a parking spot.
Angry, unreasonable, vengeful boss?
Backstabbing snake of a colleague spewing poison about you?
We become obsessed with and driven by such things. A little time in quiet
prayer, the way of prayer taught in today’s Gospel, reveals that something
deeper is at stake in our daily lives and if we pay attention, our immediate
worries become small by comparison.
It is a matter of finding trust beyond our small fears.
You’ve heard about the guy who tumbles off the edge of a cliff but manages
to grab onto a tree growing out of the rock. He’s dangling there, a thousand
feet up, and hears a voice from on high: “This is the Lord, and I’m here
to save you.”
“Oh, thank you, God!” the guy says.
“Do you trust me?” asks God.
“You know I do,” says the guy.
“Okay. Good. Then let go,” God says.
Today’s readings suggest to me that God invites me to let go of my fears,
just for today, no matter what consequences I imagine.
Why just for today? Because the line in the Lord’s Prayer says “Give us today
our daily bread.”
Two thoughts: 1) Jesus encourages us to live in the present and
let tomorrow take care of itself. 2) Every day, we ought to answer the question,
just what is my daily bread? Do I need strength for a difficult task? Do
I need inspiration to find a way to love an annoying family member, neighbor
or colleague? Or do I simply need a time of rest and reflection? Imagine
entering each day confident of the Lord’s bounty in such things. Imagine
truly believing that such things are there for the asking.
Imagine believing that you need not achieve your daily bread.
Today’s reading from Isaiah gives us this wonderful image of God’s grace
falling upon us like the rain and snow. When I step outside to enjoy a refreshing
rain shower or to be awed by a thunderstorm or to delight in a beautiful
snowfall, I am not achieving anything. Those things are acts of joy in God’s
Delivered from fears, an entire life could be an act of joy.