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Bear with me as I unravel your usual positive image of the bread from heaven called manna. What if we likened manna to the unpleasant? Not what we want or looked forward to seeing spread out in front of us every morning, demanding to be picked up, swallowed each day and perhaps struggle with the thought bringing it over into the next day? The bible says “sufficient for today is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34NKJV) and in a manna of speaking, the wilderness experience was one which was so familiar to the children of Israel that they could count on certain daily events, one of which was the overlay on the grass of the thin substance that was their food for the day. They had to make what they could out of it, because it was all they had and they knew that as long as they were in this place, the wilderness, they could expect more manna which translates to “what is it?”.
It is funny how they named and called it an open-ended question for years, as if any kind of familiarity with this bread would mean it becomes a permanent staple in their diet. But they looked at it every morning and went, “what is it?!” Picked it up anyway and made the best of it, without naming it anything more pleasant. What is your “what is it/this?” what do you have to wake up to everyday that you sometimes wish would not be there, or at least that there would be a more pleasant variety of what has become a daily event, a situation that refuse to be ignored and which you look at everyday with unanswered questions and harbor longings of a change in diet. Do you just get tired of your manna?
Others are also picking up their manna…we all have our “what is this?” as in, how long must I swallow this? It has become unbearable, but I must do this nonetheless. It is not the situations we get “fat” on, but the truth is it nourishes our soul and causes us to grow, or at least live through the wilderness. This manna has the job to strengthen and keep us on our journey. But one day, when the time is right, the manna will stop. At that time you will not even look for it, because you will be busy feeding from the land where you have been settled. The repetition, the blandness, the boring bread will make way for the fruit of the land.
Your “what is this” might be illness, the constant waking up with pain in your body and a cranking of the engine in your mind to open your eyes to another serving of pills and injections; but when you arrive at your place of healing, you will not miss your caretakers’ outstretched handful of multi-colored meds. Your manna may be a job where you have to constantly battle with others to prove your worth, and walking into the office brings a sadness so heavy you hope the days are shortened, even if you aren’t ready for the rapture. Your manna may be a mental struggle that shows up as sure as the morning sun, to haunt and taunt you into thinking this is where you will be forever.
Whatever your manna, can you turn it into an experience that nurtures your Spirit? Mind it only for the day, since you expect change and use the opportunity to gather heavenly bread as well. Each morning make the best of it, don’t long for the past, but rather look forward to the day when you step out of the wilderness and into the land that instantly seems less dusty and more suited to bearing fruit. Don’t get too comfortable with manna, but you can still be grateful for it. It is doing a work in you.
(From the series: Mind Your Manna)
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