The highlighted verse in The Upper Room online this morning was Numbers 11:5-6 (NRSV), “The Israelites murmured, ‘We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing…but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
This speaks powerfully to me today. As a family we’ve been discerning what the future holds for us. Where is God leading us, how will God provide for us, what are we “supposed” to do??? So many questions surround these decisions and weigh on each of our hearts.
Over the past few months, Mike and I have transitioned out of a place that we loved and cared about and from a worship service that we helped create and foster and grow over many years. There are definitely seasons for everything and I believe that to be true, but there’s also grief and loss as seasons change and it’s sometimes hard to see the daily provisions in that.
As these changes have happened, that has meant a new economic reality for our family and I write about this not looking for some quick fix or answer, but because I think there are a lot of people in our churches and communities and families that are struggling in these economic times and are asking some of the same questions that Mike and I are asking. There are friends’ facebook statuses that I see talking about eating peanut butter sandwiches at the end of the month and their couponing exploits and I know there are many people that are living wisely and practically, trusting not just in God’s provision but also being wise about what we’ve been given. I had the pleasure of hearing my brother, Josh’s sermon series on Stewardship some this fall and he really brought to life all that it means to be a good steward as we give our time, our presence, our gifts and our service.
Sometimes we’ve become used to all of the extras of life – like that coffee from Starbucks or being able to get that skirt from Target or the luxury of cable tv and we forget the beauty and sustenance of the manna that God provides us every day. Times may get tough and things might get real tight (how many ways can you use the whole chicken – a lot apparently) but God is with us providing for us each step of the way in big and small ways and giving us the wake up calls and the encouragement we need to move forward in wisdom and faith.
May we treasure these gifts and those that neither most nor rust will destroy. May we trust that no matter where God leads, that God “gives us this day our daily bread” and that manna is not something for us to look down upon, but something that is a visible sign of God’s provision. This manna is not just money, by any means, but it’s the daily sustaining through those beautiful ways that God draws us to God’s self each day. What that means for us is that in the midst of that trusting, we must also be intentional and committed to our prayer life and to being open to God’s leading and promise in our lives.
This is one of my goals for the year, to see the manna as valuable and as grace given to me, not just as something to take for granted. May it be so!
How has God provided for you? How do you see God’s daily providence? What does this manna also call us to do in our communities and how does it shape the living out of our lives and faith?