Stephen Jaques: The Bread of Life

Posted by in Faith | May 13, 2014


Editor’s Note: Stephen Jaques wrote for us today and expounded upon the idea of daily bread and the bread of life. He’s in a transitionary phase of his life; and as all of us have experienced at one time or another, it’s easy to focus on our own provision and lose focus on God’s providence. Stephen walks us through his own realization while reading the book of Hosea; and I know it will really hit home for some of you! Thanks Stephen, for being observant, diligent, and faithful.

I’ve been thinking a lot about bread lately. Yes, I know that sounds strange in the land of Publix and plenty. In 2014 America, I take bread for granted. It even comes conveniently pre-made and pre-sliced. I don’t even need it some days because I have other options in the pantry. But for some people in this world, and for many throughout history, bread is essential for daily survival. They heavily invest time and energy making sure they have their daily bread. Those folks would have understood exactly what Jesus meant when he asked God to “give us our daily bread.”

You see, I’ve been going through a shortage of “daily bread.” Sure, I have all the food, clothing, and shelter I need to survive; but surviving is pretty pointless without purpose and meaning and people to share my life with. Having graduated last year, I am still in the process of looking for professional work. In the meantime, my life is in an awkward transitional phase where I’m not sure what my mission is, and I am short on friends, community, and intimacy. That’s the daily bread that I’m hungry for. I was feasting on a loaf last year. Now I’m living off the heel. I ask God, “Where is my daily bread and why have You delayed Your provision? God, You promise to provide for me. Why am I short? Are You cheating me? Am I getting second best? Am I getting Plan B? Can I trust You when it seems like You aren’t providing?” God never answers. Like Job, I’m going through my own rough time and God seems absent even though I believe He is sovereignly controlling these events.

And then, this week, God finally answered. It was not pleasant. God first rocked my world through someone I knew intimately. She pulled my skeletons out of my closet in a way that forced me to address them. But that wasn’t all. I ended up reading Hosea to see how God could justify giving Hosea the horrible mission of marrying a habitually unfaithful wife. I pictured myself as Hosea but ended up being the unfaithful wife who has “gone after [the] lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.” It’s like God was saying, “You think you’re flawed? Let Me show you how flawed you really are!” I take my bread for granted. I obsess over it. I worry where my next meal will come from. I get too caught up in my needs and my wants. I stress over my daily bread and forget about the Bread of Life. I worry about my lesser needs and forget about my ultimate need for Christ. I treat Him merely as a means to my daily bread. He is just there to make sure I have all that I need. “Thanks God! I’ll call next time I need something.” Or worse, I forget to thank Him and just assume I am entitled to it.

“Therefore,” God says, “I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her nakedness. So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of My hand…I will punish her for the days [she] went after her lovers but Me she forgot.” (Hosea 2 NIV) “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards…I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips…I will betroth you to Me forever…and you will acknowledge the Lord.”

God is not going to allow me to confuse my daily bread with the Bread of Life. Nor will He allow me to forget who lovingly provides my daily bread. Sometimes, it’s just the slice I need to carry on a little longer. And other times, it’s the whole loaf for me to feast on. And sometimes, He temporarily brings an unwanted fast into my life so that I will return to the Bread of Life. As His adopted son, He will never let me starve to death. But, as my mentors often say, “God is more concerned with my character than my comfort.” I am convinced that He is perfectly willing to take away the feast, and let me feel hunger so that I might remember and pursue my ultimate need for the Bread of Life. He’s not cheating me. If anything, I’m cheating myself by obsessing over lesser wants and needs. With that in mind I ask, “God, please forgive me for my wandering. Whether I’m feasting or hungry, let me always remember to eat of the Bread of Life, because he who eats of that will never be hungry.”

Stephen Jaques

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