A recurring conversation in my house these days goes something like this:
Me: “Remember when we went to the park last week?”
My kids: “Dad, that was this morning.”
Me: “Really? What day is it, again?”
Apparently, one of the unforeseen side effects of the coronavirus is that our days are blurring together. We’ve gotten out of our routines. We’ve lost regular events. We’ve binged our way through Netflix and Disney Plus. Somewhere along the way, time stopped working the way it used to.
March 2020 feels like years ago. Does anyone remember January and February? Did they even happen? When I look at my calendar, I feel like I’ve just stepped off a carnival ride before it stopped.
How do we find our bearings when we’ve lost track of time? I’m not asking for a friend.
A few days ago, or maybe it was a few hours ago, I thought about a dizzying pathway that runs parallel to ours. We’ve been wandering through this modern-day wilderness for almost four months. Israel wandered in a desert wasteland for forty years.
I wonder if they lost track of the days?
To help them do more than just pass the time, God helped fill their calendar with reminders: festivals to commemorate how He had provided for them, delivered them and protected them. And every morning, they had a memorable menu item to remind them how much they needed God.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.’” (Exodus 16:4)
God fed His family with a daily supply while they wandered in the wilderness. If they tried to pocket more than a days worth, it didn’t work out very well.
Part of my own problem with these days is that we can’t see the future as clearly as we’re used to seeing it. We’re learning to take things one day at a time when we’re used to taking things months in advance.
Daily dependence is the diet of a disciple, no matter what wilderness they find themselves in. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He told them to ask, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Why can’t it be weekly bread? Or monthly bread? Wouldn’t yearly bread be so much more convenient and cost effective? We could hit God’s warehouse, stock up on what we need and then be on our merry way to the games, concerts and movie theaters that are finally re-opening.
If God operated like that, would it make us more dependent on Him or less dependent?
Keep in mind, God’s not asking us to do anything He isn’t willing to do Himself. Jesus modeled this timeless way of life when He walked the wilderness of our world in daily dependence on His Father.
He could have snapped His fingers and turned rocks into cinnamon rolls. Instead, He showed that “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
Christ never lost track of time. At the right time, He died for people like us, who have lost more than our bearings.
When you can’t remember whether it’s Sunday or Friday, you can remember the words of Jesus and the manna of Israel. One day at a time, God will always provide.
— Gregg Madsen is the Lead Pastor of Steadfast Gretna. Reach him at email@example.com.