Daily Bread

From the Head, Heart, Hand Blog:

Although few daily pray “Give us this day our daily bread,” God daily answers this prayer.  He answers by graciously providing suitable and sufficient food for our bodies, for our minds, for our emotions, and for our souls. Just think for a few moments on how God provides for our bodies.

The variety of God’s provision

He made so many different tastes and textures for so many palettes and preferences.There’s something for everyone. Out of the abundant variety we can all find something to our taste.

And think about how God made different foods to meet the varied needs of our bodies. Look at food wrapping and see how even the simplest foods have a complex mixture of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fat, water, salt, etc.


The suitability of God’s provision

We often think of our food when we pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” However, all that food would be in vain if we did not have a functioning digestive system to process our food. God answers this prayer, therefore, not just by providing the food but also the machinery of our bodies to make the most of the food. When God made our food on creation days 1-5, He did so with a view to perfectly suiting it to the bodies He would make on day 6.

Most of us think daily about our food, but few of us ever give a thought to the incredibly complex digestive system that He daily sustains and directs. Think about it for a moment:

As soon as our eyes see and our nose smells food, the digestive system cranks into operation with saliva glands pumping out its lubricating oil.

  • Chemicals in our saliva (enzymes) immediately start changing carbs into sugar.
  • Our teeth and tongue start working in unison to grind it down and the tongue pushes the result to the back of the throat through a trapdoor and into our gullet (30 secs).
  • The muscles in our gullet begin to act like a toothpaste tube, squeezing the lump of food down towards the stomach, where another trapdoor automatically opens to let in the food (3 secs).
  • Acid rains down on the food to break it up (and kill any bacteria we may have ingested), while a thin layer of liquid (mucous) protects the stomach walls from being eroded (3-4 hours).
  • Once it is been dissolved into small enough bits, another valve opens and slowly lets it out into approx 20 feet of small intestine (3 hours).
  • Our liver, gall-bladder, and pancreas then squirts more chemicals to further break down the food and start separating the good from the bad. Lots of little sponges absorb the nutrients from the food and absorb them into the bloodstream.
  • The nutrient rich blood goes to the liver for processing, which filters out anything harmful and decides how many nutrients to let go to the body and how much to store.
  • What’s left then goes into the wider and drier large intestine where water is extracted and recycled back into our bodies. Microbes, bacteria continue to work on the residue which is now down to about a third of its original size..
  • The whole 25 foot journey takes about 18 hours, and 50 tons of food will pass through our digestive system in an average lifespan.

We’ve never had to think about that, have we? Most of us have never thought about this for even a moment. And yet it’s a large part of God’s daily answer to this prayer. He provides suitable food for our bodies and suitable bodies for our food. They fit so well.

The sufficiency of God’s provision

As God has promised (Ps. 145:16), there is enough food in the world for everybody. God has not come up short. He has not miscalculated. So why are there starving people? Oxfam reports that “Half the world’s food is lost as waste, and a billion people – one in every six of the world’s poorest – cannot access enough of the other half and so go hungry every day.”

“Give us this day our daily bread” is a plural, a group request. It reminds us of our responsibility to our fellow men and women. We cannot pray this prayer in the plural unless we are prepared to take action to even out the injustices of the world’s food supply. If we are not willing to do so, then lets just be honest and pray it in the singular, “Give me this day, my daily bread!”

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