Dearest Rachel –
You might remember that one of my favorite Biblical characters is a man who is only mentioned once, wrote a single chapter of Proverbs… and we know pretty much nothing else about him except his name, Agur. That, and the fact that he gave one of the most brutally honest self-evaluations of any writer of any scripture from any religion:
“I am ·the most stupid person there is [a dullard/brute more than a human], and I have no understanding.Proverbs 30:2,3, Expanded Bible
I have not learned to be wise, and I don’t know much about ·God, the Holy One [or the holy ones].
And yet, his words have been placed alongside the wisdom some of the greatest minds of biblical history. because, as you go through his single chapter, you can see how on point his observations were.
And in some ways, how far short we ourselves fall, in comparison to his own prayer to God.
“I ask two things from you, Lord.Proverbs 30:7-9, Expanded Bible
Don’t ·refuse [withhold them from] me before I die.
Keep me from lying and ·being dishonest [fraud].
And don’t make me either rich or poor;
just give me enough food for each day.
If I ·have too much [am sated/satisfied], I might ·reject [deny] you and say, ‘·I don’t know the Lord [L Who is the Lord?]’
If I am poor, I might steal and ·disgrace [profane] the name of my God.
I bring this up to mention my own shortcomings. You weren’t awake when I would prepare myself for the day, but in those last, dark few years, when I despaired of being able to survive day today emotionally, I would find myself crying to God not just for my daily bread, but for a lifetime’s supply. That way, I wouldn’t have to deal with my job, and more importantly, my boss, who clearly had nothing but contempt for me (and most other people, but being his closest employee, I was generally the one in the blast radius). Only if I didn’t need to work would I be able to escape from his clutches.
Even as I was asking it, I knew just how silly and selfish I sounded. But I was calling out from a place of pain. You had heard the stories, you knew what I was going through, and you supported me every single day. He would greet me at home with a hug and a kiss, and the words “I love you, honey.”
You were, in fact, my daily bread. It was you who sustained me through all those times, and it was your picture that I kept on my desk, to remind me why it was I was still there:
So I did not have the strength of character that Agur did when he wrote those words. I understand them a little better now, because these days I find myself unable to plan too far in advance. When anyone asks me these days how I’m doing, all I can say is that I’m taking each day in its turn. There’s no longer any focus on trying to accumulate a lifetime supply of bread; I just need to get through today. And tomorrow, I just need to get through that day. And so on, and so forth.
You can get the horses ready for the day of battle,Proverbs 21:31, Expanded Bible
but it is the Lord who gives the victory.
I read somewhere recently that, if you want to make God laugh, make a plan. I imagine He must’ve found us rather amusing, then, because we had so many things that we wanted to do together. And now, with your departure, my to-do list has been condensed from a 20+ year timeline to a day-to-day survival plan. I don’t have any long range plans anymore, as I have no one to make them with. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that my only thoughts are of today and how to get through it, I will admit that losing you has sharpened my focus dramatically with regard to planning for the future. Gone are those long-term plans, replaced with simple requests to get through the day.
And I suppose this is how it should be. After all, a lifetime supply of bread would just get moldy or stale. Some things just can’t be stored up for a rainy day. Indeed, a rainy day might just hasten their destruction.
We have to trust God every day – and come to Him every day with our requests – otherwise we might forget about all the things that He’s done for us were He to supply us with everything we need it all at once. Which is basically Agur’s point.
Not bad, for “the most stupid person there is.” Maybe that just reflects badly upon us now, what he has to say is so much wiser than anything we can come up with.