This is My Body, Broken for Soul Food

Lately I’ve been thinking about bread.

Don’t you think bread is the ultimate comfort food? Warm, fresh-baked bread. Mmmmmm.

There’s a reason I’ve been daydreaming about bread. My life is in upheaval, lots of upheaval, so I crave comfort.

But, too often in the past, I’ve taken my need for comfort to food.

Food is just food. Food isn’t God.

Trying to get comfort from food is like trying to quench thirst with cement. You can keep drinking it but it’s going to do you more harm than good.

I don’t want to settle for anything less than true comfort so I want to find my comfort in Christ, like the Apostle Paul who wrote:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” Corinthians 1:3-5

So, think about this. If I seek a secondary source of comfort, like food, then not only will I not be satisfied but I will have only food to offer others in their times of trial.

Which would you rather have when you are suffering? The touch of the God of the universe or a bagel?

So, back to bread. In the Bible, it symbolizes what we need on a daily basis in order to survive.

Funny we should be so attached to bread. It’s not a very stable staple. It goes stale quickly. It grows moldy fast. It doesn’t keep well. It’s best when it’s fresh.

To rely on bread for food is to need a new supply of food every day. Hence, the prayer Jesus used as a model for His followers: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

But that’s frustrating. Seems a little dicey. I don’t want to live quite so lean.

I want stores of bread. I don’t just want bread for today. I want to know there will be bread tomorrow. I mean, manna in the wilderness makes a wonderful Sunday school lesson but played out in real life, I’m with the Israelites in their exasperation with the process.

Throughout the Bible, though, God repeats the message over and over that His people will learn to trust Him and to be content with daily provision.

Agur, in Proverbs 30:7-9, prays this way: “Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

I don’t know much about Agur, but these are the words of a brave man. These are the words of a man of faith who loves the Lord more than he loves security, savings, assurance, five-year plans, 401K’s and contingency funds. This is a man who’s placed himself in the Lord’s hands, not Allstate.

The message Jesus delivered when He walked with us was quite different from the message we hear on the morning news. Don’t worry about clothes and food. Don’t fret about tomorrow. Trust that God will care for you just as He cares for the sparrows.

That makes for beautiful special music and lovely embroidered pillows but some harrowing, nail-biting late-nights in real life.

No coincidence that in John 6, Jesus tells us that He is the Bread of Life. He means to be the source of our soul food, the God of all sustenance and comfort, nourishment and satisfaction.

Did you know that the origin of the word “companion” comes from the Latin com- meaning “with” and panis meaning “bread” – literally “with bread.” Companion developed from the idea of “someone who shares your bread with you.”

That gives some depth to the message of this verse from Revelation 3:19-20: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

As I have endured the trials that came with this new year, I’ve been working on letting go of fretting about what I need beyond what has been supplied for that day. It’s not fun in any way but it’s not fun in the way that push-ups aren’t fun. You don’t do them for the fun. You do them for the benefit. 

I’ve also been asking God to help me know what it looks like to walk through this kind of tribulation with His companionship – not to plead and prod Him to fix my circumstance but to teach me to be present with Him in the midst of it. Deeper with Jesus – I write about it, right? I ought to be willing to go there.

I’m trying to turn to the Bread of Life instead of to bread. My instinct is right – craving bread for comfort but Jesus is even better than whole grain. My craving for bread is a dashboard warning light that my soul needs to tap into the comfort available in Jesus.

I am stretched to my limits right now with the crush of current circumstance but deep beneath the outer turmoil, I do hear a voice saying, “Be still, and know that I am God.” And I feed my soul on that truth and I am satisfied.

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    The Conversation

  1. I appreciate your gut level honesty. I have been where you are, more than once! I’ve had earthly goods and financial stability ripped from me several times, and I can testify to the fact that God is indeed faithful to provide daily bread. Over the years of this kind of “suffering”, my shoes have not worn out, my clothes have not worn out, my belly has not gone empty…therefore having food and raiment, be ye content. It’s not an easy way to live in this society, but considering that even at my worst I still have it better than 90% of the world, puts it all in perspective. He will see to your needs…and if you feel He doesn’t, then you didn’t need it!!!

  2. Dorothy P says:

    I’m praying for you in your time of need, Lori. I haven’t got your faith – not a tenth of it – but I know my prayers for you will be answered.

  3. Michael says:

    I would like to start by asking you two questions. One: Can you can give an accurate definition of the phrase: “Lamb of God”? We all know that this is one of the names used for Jesus, like Messiah, Savior, Son of Man, or Christ. But exactly what is the importance of the name “Lamb of God”? And why is it important to me as a Catholic? The second question I would like to ask you is: Why the Catholic Church would offer The Holy Eucharist every day at every Mass throughout the world in over 3000 languages. What knowledge do they have that would make them feel compelled to do this for thousands of years? In answering this question, we’ll see why the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.'” (CC 1324)

  4. Michael, welcome. Not sure where you’re coming from with your questions but the first one is very easy to answer and has it’s origins in the Passover of the Jews during their Exodus from Egypt. Every family was to sacrifice a Passover Lamb and put the blood of the Lamb over their doorposts so the angel of death would pass-over their household and they would not suffer the judgment suffered by the Egyptians. Hence, Jesus is the Lamb God sacrificed on our behalf so those of us who believe in Him can be covered by His blood and not suffer the judgment that will come on the rest of the world. I don’t know the answer to your second question. Maybe there are other Catholics near you who could answer that for you. I do know that Jesus instructed His disciples to share communion, in remembrance of Him. It is in remembrance of the breaking of His body (the bread) and drinking of the cup (His blood) that we remember the price He paid for our sins. “This is my body, broken for you . . .”

  5. krex_1 says:

    I read your blog just now, right after eating half a pack of Ritz crackers. You’re so right about turning to the Bread of Life rather than earthly bread! thanks for challenging me to go deeper, Lori, and I appreciate how you’re reallly putting it into practice in your own life.