mysteries & grace–or a stocked pantry

You’ve read about this story in Sunday School, you know how the Israelites were led into the wilderness with no food and they complained that Yahweh abandoned them, so God rained down bread (called manna, meaning literally “what is it”) from heaven everyday–and of course, they complained some more.  They even cried out to the Lord that it would have been easier for them to have stayed in captivity (you know, that thing they cried out to be freed from for hundreds of years?) where their bellies were full and fat with the knowledge of knowing from where their next meal would come.  The scenario is angering, really, as you read about their ungratefulness towards His provision as He literally and physically freed them from slavery (I might also add that at this point they’ve also been witness to the 7 plagues against the Egyptians, parting of the Red Sea, and fire raining down from heaven–oh, and being led by pillars of fire and clouds, no big deal).  It’s almost comically annoying–or really just completely annoying.

However, the beautiful, painful thing about the Word of God is that it’s “sharper than a two-edged sword , piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart,” and I don’t think I can say that this apple falls too far from the tree (Heb. 4:12).  My ingratitude and desire for fat comfort takes different shapes while its core form remains the same: “Tell me what’s going to happen next. I don’t want to fail.  Tell me what I’m going to do after this next step.  How are things going to add up? Make sure I get everything I need before I leave.”

The common thread holding those questions together speaks wholly of comfortable future promise.  I want these future questions answered so I can stack them neatly in my food pantry (you know, those ones you hear about people having made in the ’60s during the Cold War?  Makes me think of that bad Brendan Fraser movie, Blast from the Past).  But more often than not, I don’t even want the mystery because I want what I want.  I don’t want the means for which the One who formed those very needs so lovingly intends to fulfill, I want the things I think I need when I think I need them.    So often I slap the hand that offers that which I so desperately need, just like the Israelites: daily grace.  I need the mystery, I need the manna that beautifully has been prepared in order to meet the known and unknown needs of this troubled heart.

Tomorrow morning, I leave for 2 months of rigorous training before I leave for South Asia for 2 years–and you know what my most consistent, greatest need will remain?  The convicting, daily grace–no more, no less.  Don’t miss it, Carol, because you’re too consumed with tomorrow’s meal.  Don’t miss the daily grace that He so loving rains down for me each day–that I might know that the only true nourishment for my soul lives in His Word.  Praise Him.

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