It’s the middle of October and we’re picking the last of the raspberries on bushes that don’t seem to understand summer is long gone. Every day my First-Girl puts on her fancy shoes and insists on heading to the garden. Never mind that there’s mud and the weather is nipping at the face and we cleaned out the raspberries yesterday.
Everyday she goes out with the expectation that there will be more and everyday, there’s a handful to be had.
She grabs as many as her little hand can hold and gobbles them down. I’m trying to tell her to take one at a time, to savor and slow down and maybe save a couple for later. Because this might be the last of them you know, and what if you don’t have any for tomorrow?
And she eyes me like that’s the most ridiculous thing because of course there will be raspberries tomorrow.
I’m trying to manage her expectations, to teach her about how good things don’t last and what we have today might be gone and saving and savoring and the words suddenly catch in my throat.
We’ve walked through lean times and I’m like a war vet, dodging the bullets that no longer fly and holding on tight for fear that tomorrow might just not have enough. I’m hoarding today’s blessings in case, just in case, that’s the last we get for a while. But like maggots in manna, it starts to fade and rot and why would I want to hold on to the old from yesterday when today is bursting with new wonders?
In all our lean times, there never was a single day that lacked. We got our daily bread and then some. And I’m trying to teach my girl to not expect too much, while she’s showing me today’s beauty can’t be saved for another day.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Jesus didn’t say to pray for bread today so that you could make it last a week’s time. He didn’t try to manage our expectations so we wouldn’t be disappointed. He taught us to expect every day that there will be what we need when we get there, waiting for us to pick and enjoy even when the seasons say there shouldn’t be such abundance.
And what is it that I need? I need Jesus.
I need Jesus.
Like breath in my lungs to keep this lump of clay moving, I need Jesus. More than the body needs bread or water, I daily need a taste of the only source that will never leave me thirsty. More than a home to call my own or a place to keep my things, I need to sit in His presence and be filled. More than a comfortable life, free from pain or heartbreak, I need to know that Jesus will be in every situation.
There is little I can be sure of these days. I cannot tell you with certainty where we will be living next month, or if my children will outlive me or even if the sun will rise tomorrow morning. I cannot be sure that my husband and I will grow old together, that I will never live in fear for my life or that those I call friends today might not be strangers tomorrow.
But I can be sure of Jesus. I know not what the future holds except that I know the One who holds it. And I can be sure that He will be there to meet me in it. And that is more than enough. It frees me to enjoy the bounty of today because tomorrow, there will be more. More Jesus.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Those words roll around in my head as I’m warming the house for the day and pouring my coffee. I’m good at the rule-keeping and the walking the straight and narrow to keep from falling into the fire but this enjoying of God like He’s a good meal to savor? Turning on my senses to move beyond holy fear to embrace Him and delight in Him?
When I’m parceling out the goodness of the day, how much enjoyment is really happening? In splicing the raspberries and counting out the pennies, am I experiencing, embracing, indulging in the goodness of God?
First-Girl’s assurance that there will be raspberries tomorrow frees her to enjoy today’s bounty with abandon. My picking at the crumbs keeps me tight-fisted and feeling worn down and stretched thin.
One of us has it right and I don’t think it’s me.
Maybe when that God-Man said to be more like children, it was because He knew that the older we get, the less we trust that the beauty of today will be here tomorrow. The rose-colored glasses break and you build callouses to keep the hurt from coming back every time you get hit. You learn that the world is a dark place and that today’s raspberries might be the last thing you enjoy for a while.
But can God ever run out? Can I ever enjoy too much of Him on any given day, reducing what I’ll be able to enjoy tomorrow? The bounty I’m craving is found in doing life with Him, of counting the gifts of the day and thanking Him for all of it, the bitter and the sweet.
Of grabbing handfuls of it and gulping it down because tomorrow, there will be plenty more of His goodness waiting to be tasted and seen.