Day 14. More of God and less of me

[above: The Eucharist—Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash]

Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32–33, NRSV)

 It is not what God can give us, but God that we want.

—George MacDonald, Wilfred Cumbermede

George MacDonald was a seasoned old soul; what was true for him may have been more of an ideal for other pilgrims on the journey. The rest of us may feel more inclined to pray, “Father, forgive us, for we know not what we want.”

We seek a gilded afterlife when we could have Eternal Life. We seek breadcrumbs of earthly pleasure when we could join a heavenly banquet. We avoid pain when we could embrace joy. We plead for words of comfort and light, but our darkness does not comprehend the Word. 

Help us, Lord. We ask for a roadmap to heaven when the Way, the Truth, the Life stands right before us. We want the crown without the cross, and we fix our gaze on the crown more than on the King. We look to Glory, but others do not see the glory when they look at us.

We do not ask too much in prayer, but too little. We follow the one who multiplied the loaves and do not see the bread of life. We want to quench the thirst of this moment, but do not ask for living water, the cup of heaven.

The Everlasting took human form so that we might lift our eyes from the gifts to the Giver. He emptied himself so that from his fullness we might receive grace upon grace. The baby lay in a feeding trough so we might not be forever hungry. The child spoke in his Father’s house, so we might put away childish things. The man told us that we must die to live, that sorrow would turn to joy, that those who seek will find. He rose that we might rise. He came to be with us for a time so that we might be with him forever.

PRAYER: Lord, teach us to know what we want, to want what you want, to want you. Amen.

By David C. Downing

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #133+ in 2019]

David C. Downing is codirector, with his wife Crystal, of the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College, Illinois. He is the author of numerous works, including The Most Reluctant Convert and Planets in Peril, both on C. S. Lewis.
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