Realizing Dependence: H.C. Lord’s Day 50

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 50

Q 125: What does the fourth petition mean?
A 125: “Give us this day our daily bread” means:

Do take care of all our physical needs so that we come to know that you are the only source of everything good, and that neither our work and worry nor your gifts can do us any good without your blessing;

And so help us to give up our trust in creatures and trust in you alone.
 
 How often do you think about where your next meal is going to come from?  If you are like me, probably rarely.  Even if we don’t have any food in the house (which never actually happens), my family and I could go out to eat at one of any number of restaurants in a 20-mile radius.  We are pretty much never in danger of not having enough food.
 
Not being in danger of this, however, can be a danger in and of itself.  When we are in a place of abundance, a place where our own work seems to be enough for the provisions that we need, not to mention the wants that we often indulge, we far too often forget the true source and provider of all our needs, God the creator, sustainer, and provider for the entire universe.
 
Now, as we have discussed in the past couple of weeks, the catechism is not teaching some magical words that are going to get you more “blessed.”  Neither is it teaching that if you don’t say these things, God is going to somehow pull all of His blessings and provision right out from under you.  Jesus is teaching His disciples to pray and, as such, He is teaching them the importance of both the direction of their prayers and the recognition in their prayers.
 
Praying for the things that you already have seems a bit silly.  This is especially true when you’ve always had them.  Yet the danger in not including this in our prayer life is a plunge into total self-reliance.  Jesus is teaching His disciples to remember the true source of all things and the direction in which their trust should go.  For them this would be even more important in the years that followed Jesus Ascension into heaven, a time of intense persecution of the young Church.
 
Self-reliance, in the face of the trials and tribulations of life, may work for a little bit, but ultimately our strength and our hope come from something much greater than ourselves.  Christians have, far too often, encouraged each other by saying “hang in there” or “you are stronger than this.”  These are certainly good sentiments, but at their core is a very dark and dangerous desire: we want to be in control, we want to support ourselves, we don’t want to have to trust anyone else.
 
The reality for us, however, is that we need to put that trust somewhere else.  What we want is self-reliance but what we need is God-reliance.  This is why Jesus taught His disciples to have this as a vital part of their prayer life.  Excluding it could be a lapse in memory or a simple oversight; it could also reveal a sort of reality of a self-reliant heart that either doesn’t want to or doesn’t feel it needs to look to God for all our needs… even the ones that seem to be already met.
 
Have you ever been at a place in your faith journey where prayer seems to be of relatively little importance?  I know I have.  What is it that shakes you out of that?  Perhaps a crisis… a deep struggle… a significant life event…  We readily go to God when we recognize a need that we cannot meet for ourselves.  Jesus teaches us that, while God will always be there, we should readily go to God for everything, in everything, with everything.  Not only does God invite this, He longs for it!