Thursday, October 23, 2014

Daily Bread When Bullies Barge {This Day Thursday}

"Mom, were you ever bullied?"

I racked my brain. "I don't remember" was the best answer I could come up with for my daughter. Her father had stories to tell of being bullied. I really didn't. Maybe I was the minority. I was a Navy brat who moved every three years. I didn't have time to be bullied. I hung out with decent kids, was active in sports and music. Maybe I avoided the bullying issue.

Then I remembered. It was middle school. There was a verbal skirmish on the bus. I don't remember exactly what was said, but I made it home in tears because a boy dared to insult my mother. To which my mother responded, "But, Honey, why are you upset? He doesn't even know me." A phone call was made to his mom and he had to apologize to me.

Then there was the boy who tripped me on the soccer field. I was humiliated and he was standing over me laughing. I knocked him over, a fight started and we both landed in the principal's office. It was this kid's third strike. I was a good kid just sticking up for myself. I was released. He was suspended.

I'm sure if I thought hard enough I could recall other fights and cruel words, but I don't have the energy for that.

Because this day I need wisdom. Because this day my daughter is talking to her guidance counselor about her own bully.

Because this day I ask the Father for my daily bread, and He supplies.

I was so excited to start this series: This Day Thursday. Wasn't planning on bullying starting the subject matter, but that's how things happen and in all things God works for the good of those who love him.

We've all been bullied- if not by physical human beings then at least by the lying devil. And when that happens, there is a part of me that rebels against Sunday School answers. Not because they are wrong. Not because they are not applicable. Some are actually really wise words and to be considered carefully. But because formulas for life don't always work the way we think they should. When people tell you that if you pray enough and read enough and thank God for Jesus enough then everything will be sunshine and roses, but that just doesn't cut it. Not from my experience. Those things are all good, but "enough" is the question mark that leaves us with uncertainty. Maybe if things are going wrong, then I am not doing enough.

I prayed and pondered the other night about why I am so rebellious against textbook answers, and I think it is because there are so many examples in the Bible of righteous holy people having a really really hard time. They made the cut to appear in the Bible, and they couldn't even keep it together! They prayed day and night and still struggled with insecurity, infertility, grief, exhaustion, marital problems, parenting issues, frustration, etc. They talked with Jesus face to face and still struggled with doubt and fear. You name it- someone in the Bible dealt with it.

Life was hard then and it is hard now, and if we are relying on being "enough" we're screwed.

As I prayed, Jesus' words came back to mind:

"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, emphasis mine)

Even Jesus prayed for the Father's provision. Some people see it as just another formula, but it is so much more. It is a prayer that confesses aloud, I am not. enough. I need you. "Give us this day our daily bread..." I need you everyday. Not just every day- this day.

I need strength this day. I need energy this day. I need patience this day. I need joy this day. I need peace this day. I need ________ this day. I need the Bread of Life this day.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, 
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls.  
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

This day I need wisdom and patience in spades. Maybe you are in the same boat. Over the next months This Day Thursday will address people in the Bible who struggled with the same things we do. People who would have responded to my poll in the same way you did on Facebook. And we will watch how God delivers. How He heals and helps and loves and cares. 

Because when we are not enough, He is always enough. And He invites us this day to ask Him for all we need. Praise Him for His amazing grace and love. We have such a fantastic God!