She had seemingly done the right things:

Given her heart to Christ.

Read her Bible.

Married a “Christian” man.

Answered what she thought was God’s call for their lives.

Loved sacrificially.

But things unraveled. Her husband was not what anyone thought he was. He was selfish, ungodly and abusive.

Although I’d never met her before a group Zoom call, my heart broke at what she shared.

She was back in her home country with hurting children, living with her parents, soon to be divorced, and wondering how God could have let this happen.  From His Word and in her heart, she knew God was unfailingly good. But she was struggling with Christ’s words of Matthew 7:9-11:

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!

Without any bitterness, this thoughtful woman—I’ll call her Rachel—shared how she poured out her hurt and frustrations to God.

“I told Him, Lord, I asked You for bread.”

She had asked her Father in heaven for something good: a loving and godly husband.

Although she brought requests for bread to God, Rachel felt she had not only been given a stone in return, but a mountain of insurmountable rock.

* * *

Our stories may differ, but many of us can relate. Perhaps it was hope which shriveled. Or a devastating phone call. My guess is you’re picking up what we’re putting down. You or someone you care about may know what it means to feel as if God’s response to prayers for something good were answered with hardship.

I suspect we can all learn something from Rachel, however.

She continued, “In time, I sensed God’s answer to my complaint: I did give you bread. Every day.

I was riveted. Rachel shared her understanding that God had given her different bread than she had asked for. That which was superior.

She had been blessed with Jesus, the Bread of Life (John 6:35).

God’s Holy Spirit lived within her (I Corinthians 3:16).

 God had provided her with His presence and Word, every day (Psalm 23:4; Matthew 28:20; John 10:27-38).

* * *

Bread was an essential in Christ’s day. Crowds began following Him, somewhat euphoric at His miraculous multiplication of a small amount of food—five loaves of bread and two fish—into more than enough to feed thousands (Matthew 14:15-21). People couldn’t help but think about their physical needs and Jesus’ ability to meet them.

They wanted a miracle worker to keep supplying temporary blessings when Jesus’ purpose in coming was to provide for their greater, spiritual needs—forever.

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you. It is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” [John 6:32-35, NIV]

Jesus wanted these individuals to receive that which was far better than what they were asking for: Himself.  He longed for them to know deepest satisfaction of the soul—just as He does for you and me—each day and throughout eternity.

* * *

God provides His trusting followers with what they most need. This means there will be times when we see “Yes” answers to prayer for provision, and—make no mistake—God is pleased to give liberally. We should never hesitate to bring everything before Him in prayer: He invites us to! (I Peter 5:7)

Yet there may be instances in which we are praying for something good and God has predetermined to go beyond our request in order to give us something far greater.

* * *

Some of the wonderful things we may be asking God for cannot compare to other mysteries and the spiritual wholeness and eternal life believers have with Him through Jesus, His Son.

Rachel will no doubt face ongoing difficulties because of the wrongs done to her and the children. Yet she demonstrated a quiet peace and assurance that her heavenly Father is working in faithfulness and giving her true bread, as He always does. And her appreciation for Christ Jesus, who eliminates believers’ spiritual starvation and deepest soul thirst, has increased.

* * *

As Elisabeth Elliott so wisely put it, “God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better.”

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

4 Comments

  • Beryl says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today! Thank you Lord for giving me bread, exceedingly abundantly above all I ask or think, in the midst of what I see as rocks.

    • June says:

      I hear you. Rachel voiced what many of us may be afraid to verbalize (when it comes to feeling like we’re given something less than good from our loving, heavenly Father). I hope I never forget this!

  • Camille says:

    Thank you for the reminder that God is good and giving bread, no matter what life throws at us! I love your posts, they are always what I need to hear. I’m so glad I met you years ago as an early believer… you are a light 🙂

Leave a Reply