God always provides. I remember living through a really hard season in Japan where I felt the endless pressure of isolation, depression & loneliness. After about four years of teaching and living in a different country, I was overworked, constantly sick and ready to leave. I missed my family and craved what everyone else was doing back home. I compared their provision to my provision. I’ll admit that the Fear Of Missing Out had gotten to my mind. I hadn’t felt God releasing me to go back to America yet and while I stayed out of obedience, I saw God come through and provide for me. He is the one that provided the manna that I needed during my darkest season. He gave me comfort in my loneliness through my friend KT, joy to fight depression and grace over my need to perform. This was my modern day manna.
Provision is an endless theme in the Bible. It often comes in unexpected ways. Through the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, we see the Israelites grumbling and complaining as they make their journey to the promised land. As the journey gets harder, and the more they choose disobedience, they start to lose hope. As they lead each other with what seems like blinded eyes, their disbelief becomes a rock wall between themselves and their faith. After traveling in circles for forty years, the whole congregation cries out, “Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” This is what defeat looks like. Defeat can take over when our bodies are exhausted, when our brains start to spiral and when our minds are wrecked. This is usually the place where we give up. When the journey starts to look different than we expected, we start to distrust God. These forty years for them were full of walking, wondering and waiting, never fully surrendering to the path and plans of God.
But because God is faithful, he provides for the Israelites in a countless number of ways. Only God can satisfy their cry for hunger. Manna first shows up in the book of Exodus, as the people cry out from their hollow and empty stomachs. When they discover this “manna” from heaven, Moses says, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.” Manna is mentioned again in the book of Numbers, as the Israelites reminisce on the things they used to eat in Egypt. “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and the garlic.” God could have given them anything, but he chose not to give them fish, fruit or meat. He simply chose to give them the bread of life. Manna was not only to satisfy physical hunger, but spiritual hunger too. There is a hidden message in the manna, just like the hidden messages we read about through the parables of Jesus. The deeper message that God is trying to convey is that only he can satisfy and only that he is the bread of life.
God bakes up daily loaves of manna for ALL his people. He never leaves anyone out, regardless of where we are on our journey. His oven is hot and it never runs out of heat! Regardless of our disobedience, anger, self-pity or complaining, he has a fresh loaf of manna ready to deliver in times of need.
Biblical Principles: Provision gives us confidence that God has not and will not abandoned us. Provision shows us that God knows exactly what we need. Provision can come in many different ways, often times in ways we don’t expect. Provision can be specific to each person.
Biblical Challenge: How is manna showing up in your life? Make a list for each of the following areas: physical, emotional, spiritual and mental.