Learning lessons of manna…
I was struggling with depressing thoughts last night. The news these days is so heartbreaking and life has its struggles. Sometimes God seems far away. I tossed and turned and thought of the Israelites in the wilderness and how God gave them manna to eat every day and led them with a pillar of cloud during the day and gave them light with a pillar of fire every night.
I wanted to feel God’s presence that real and that obvious every day. I wondered how the Israelites could doubt God’s existence and ask for an idol and disobey Him and complain when He was providing for them daily in such obvious ways. He was sending them the miracle of manna every morning.
I’m not even mentioning all the miracles He did to get them out of Egypt. But if even all they had was the manna every day, shouldn’t that have been enough to reassure their hearts that God was absolutely with them and providing for them? How could they doubt His love for them?
And then I wondered if God thought the same thing about me.
Did the people start believing that the manna was just a natural occurrence in the desert? Just a coincidence? Eventually they were even complaining about God’s provision and saying, “…our soul loathes this worthless bread.” (Numbers 21:5,b. NKJV)
It’s hard for me to blame them because I can’t imagine eating the exact same thing every day for forty years without grumbling myself.
And then it made me think of how much repetition there is in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. We hear the same questions over and over and over. And conversations and word choices and memories and song lyrics dwindle away to a select few that are repeated continually. The bathing and changing and medication and food and cleaning needs keep recycling. And sometimes it may feel like worthless work to our souls.
But God is still with His people, even in the unending work. Maybe even especially in the unending work. What if that’s where the honey tasting manna is found? What if that is where daily evidence of His provision truly happens? What if when we are caring for His needy we are actually walking on holy ground?
I pray God will give me eyes to see His manna today. I sit with Mom while my brother takes Dad grocery shopping. My brother faithfully does this and more every week for my parents. I realize he is manna. He is honey to my soul.
I say to Mom, “I like you.”
Mom answers, “I like me, too.” And it makes me smile. And I think it might be a manna moment.
After helping Mom with her lunch, I hold her hand and she dozes off as we sit together in the love seat and Bonanza plays on the TV. I look to my other side and see Dad sleeping in his recliner. And I think how sweet it is to sit close to Mom and hold her soft hand and see Dad resting peacefully and know that for this moment we are all here together, well fed, and safe and under the same roof that has sheltered them for years. And I know this is a manna memory.
My daughter comes over to help put groceries away and clean and so forth. She helps almost every day now. We adopted her when she was four years old, along with her three brothers, and the whole story is one of God’s intervention and amazing provision and leading. And I realize she is my manna miracle.
I am blessed by Jesus every day. He is with us. He is helping us. He is faithful and He is good.
And I pray that my eyes will be open to see the manna Jesus sends and that my heart will be thankful for His provision and presence every day. And I remember that God sent the manna every morning, but the people had to see it and kneel down and pick it up to actually benefit from it.
And I pray that I will.