I listen to the pastor speak, and he talks of the ostracized woman...the foreigner...who fell at the feet of the only One who could heal. The only One who could banish the spirit of demonic activity in her daughter. He speaks of her faith and of the Savior's acknowledgment of such belief when she told him that the very crumbs of His mercy would be enough (Matthew 15:21-28).
I sing the songs chosen of faith...and my hearts aches. Because I have very little right now. But I sing the truth into my soul. I sing it anyway. Because, like the woman, I know that He is the only source of life in a world uncertain and messy.
The holy bread and cup are passed around later on. As I bow my head, I realize that I must repent: I must confess my unbelief. Because that is the stemming issue of my fears. In whatever way they manifest themselves, fears are simply a human way of expressing our unbelief. By giving way to them, I indicate to God that I do not trust Him. Because if I truly trusted Him, I would walk in peace constantly. I feel His forgiveness wash over me and take the communion for what it is: an acknowledgement of His love and the simple fact that, by His death, burial, and subsequent resurrection from the dead, He has overcome the world...even my fears. He died to set me free from such things and, because of Him, I have the joy of resting in the sovereignty of Him who holds all in His mighty hands.
As I think of that ancient woman casting her care on the Savior, I realize that am much in the same state of need. But what must be cast out is no devil but a spirit of unbelief. I cry out in weak faith as she did, "Lord, help me." Yes...that is the key. It is not my human effort to believe. It is not my determination to trust that will save me and restore my joy. It is simply the prayer of reliance and dependence. Help me. Because only He can.
I see here too a new side to a statement I've always heard...when Jesus tells us to request our daily bread, I don't think He's simply telling us to pray before meals and to be grateful for the physical...I also think He's speaking in the spiritual. We have no way to sustain our souls. Yesterday's grace is no good, and tomorrow's grace isn't available to us yet. Today's grace is all we have. Give to us, Lord, the daily Bread of Life. Without it, we die.
Thanksgiving for today's gift of full grace is the key to getting through. It is the start of believing. My faith is granted me from the rich storehouses of all He has to offer. And I have access to such abundance each and every moment. The very second I begin to live off of day-old spiritual bread is the second I begin to die. Like eating stale and moldy bread, I take dead and life-less sustenance. I must go to the fresh storehouses today. I must take, along with such Bread of Life, water out of the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3) to make for a complete quenching of my hunger and thirst for joy...for Him.
As I sit in the church pew, it all becomes clear now. Fighting the good fight necessitates taking His offered grace in the now. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Now. And choosing faith in this holy moment is the only way to combat the fears that so easily beset the journey to Grace. And so I raise my eyes toward Him and simply say: yes. I do not ask why. I only say: yes. And thank Him ahead of time for His "yes" which will answer in the proper hour. And I accept His daily bread in the present...because even the crumbs of His goodness are enough.