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Have you ever stopped and looked at all the bread at the store? The vast volume and variety of bread at the store is truly remarkable. Bread is so easy to come by today that we hardly think about all that went into getting it from the fields to the store.

But it wasn’t always that easy. Throughout most of the world’s history, people thought a great deal about a loaf of bread, because a lot more went into having a loaf of bread than simply going to the store. First there had to be a successful wheat-growing season—good soil, the right temperatures, and just enough rain. Then the wheat stalks had to be cut and stacked by hand. At the mill, the wheat kernel needed to be separated from the chaff and ground into flour. Then the flour needed to be worked into dough—using water that had to be carried by hand from the well to the kitchen. In addition, one might use yeast, oil, salt, and sugar, each of which has its own complicated, time-consuming process to be usable for baking. Then the oven had to be heated up to just the right temperature, probably using wood—wood which needed to be cut and dried months if not a year earlier. All that for ONE loaf of bread—bread which would have needed to be eaten in the next day or two before it became moldy or the mice got at it. Once that loaf of bread was eaten, then the baking started all over again.

While it has become easier for most of us to enjoy a slice of bread today, it is still dependent on the providence of God (see the previous article). As the post-Flood world dried up and things began to grow once again, God promised, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22) God, Who cannot lie, has kept His promise to provide seasons for growing and harvesting, and will keep that promise until the trumpet sounds on the Last Day. While floods and drought, hail and frost, war and “supply-chain” issues may interfere with getting our daily bread with ease, seedtime and harvest has remained since Noah stepped off the ark. God created a planet capable of providing His creatures with their daily bread, and He sustains it to this day.

Knowing this, the psalmist wrote, “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16) The greatest desire that God has satisfied is our desire for a right relationship with Him. He opened His gracious hand and sent His Son to be the Bread from Heaven to satisfy the hunger of our sin-starved souls (John 6:32-33). The gracious hands of Jesus were nailed to the cross to satisfy our desire for forgiveness. Forty days later, those hands were raised in blessing as the risen Lord ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us.

God, Who has satisfied our GREAT desire by sending Jesus, also satisfies our daily desires by feeding our bodies. He makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall. He is the one who “supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food.” (2 Corinthians 9:10) There may not always be an abundance of bread, and it may not always be your favorite bread, but God, Who has provided in the past, will continue to provide for His children. Aged King David observed: “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” (Psalms 37:25)

The next time you find yourself in the bread aisle at the store, join Jesus and the psalmist who gave thanks to the Lord for His goodness and mercy that endures forever. That goodness and mercy is seen in the cross and empty tomb of Easter, as well as in that slice of bread He provided to feed your body.

Nathan Pfeiffer is pastor of Berea Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.