Daily Bread July 06

Yesterday Was Plain Awful
By Grace Andrews of Independence, MO, USA

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. -Hebrews 11:1NLT

“Yesterday was plain awful, but that’s not now, that’s then,” croon Annie and Daddy Warbucks in the beloved musical Annie. Later, in the song “Tomorrow,” Anne sings:

The sun will come out tomorrow,
So you gotta hang on
’til tomorrow, come what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow,
I love ya, tomorrow,
You’re always a day away! (Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, xc2xa9 1977 Charles Strouse Publishing)

I have thought a lot about those song lyrics over the last few months. It’s been a difficult road with many health issues. Three surgeries in six months. A nagging, hopeless feeling that maybe nothing would correct my situation after all. My husband and I were both weighed down. We prayed continually and repeated positive things to each other: “We’re going to get better! We’re going to make it! This is just a pebble in the road. We can do this!”

Others prayed for us and did things for us that we always loved to do for others. As kind and loving as they were, we didn’t like this unfamiliar role. Yet, deep inside, I knew God loved me. I pleaded with God to make me whole again, able to serve others and benefit his cause. At the same time, I felt pangs of guilt as I was so aware of others around me and throughout the world who were suffering much more than I.

I was scheduled for one more surgery. I felt anxious, concerned about the future. My once-positive attitude had “flown the coop.” So I reached into my deep-rooted faith and followed the counsel given in scripture. I surrendered and called for the elders. When they came I felt immediately the Spirit of God coming through the door with them. They laid their hands on my head for the sacrament of laying on of hands for the sick. Then, the drop of oil and the lovely anointing prayer lifted me securely into that spirit. During the confirming prayer these words came: “You have trusted God and had faith in God all your life. You are aware that God has always been faithful and blessed you in countless ways. God has never left you alone. Why would tomorrow be any different?”

I felt my whole body relax, and loving trust came alive in me again. I thought, “Indeed, yesterdays were plain awful, but tomorrow, come what may, God will be there. I will humbly await God’s blessing. And I will continue to sing, ‘I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you, O my soul rejoice…'”

Prayer Phrase

“Awake, my soul!” (Psalm 57:8 NRSV)

Spiritual Practice

The Prayer of the Heart

Early Christian disciples desired to take seriously the scripture mandate to pray “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The prayer of the heart invites us to pray “continuously” by repeating and returning to a prayer phrase planted for intentional reflection and deepening. Choose a word or phrase (from scripture, hymnody, or personal reflection) that has meaning for you. The Jesus Prayer is one form of the prayer of the heart: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” (Luke 18:35-43). Invite this simple phrase to repeat in your heart throughout the day, awakening your soul to God’s presence.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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