I’ve always been fascinated by the story of God’s provision of manna and quail for the Israelites in the desert. Learning about it as a child, I wondered what it would be like to live on “honey wafers” for forty years. And was the quail ready to eat? Or did they have to kill the poor birds first?
But the message behind it was clear: God provides. Listen to his instructions. Don’t deviate, or you’ll end up with maggots in your jar.
If you’re not familiar with this Bible story, God instructs his people to trust that he will provide daily food for them while they are wandering in the desert. They should only take what they need for the day (and double the day before the Sabbath so they can rest). Each morning was manna (carbs!), and every evening was quail (protein!) For those who took too much, they saw their stash turn rotten.
Take what you need and no more. You will have plenty, and there will be more tomorrow.
As a control freak with an anxiety disorder, I’m pretty sure I would have found out about the maggot deal first hand.
I so would have wanted to gather up extra manna and quail so that I could rest assured that tomorrow was taken care of. It makes total sense to someone with control issues. Why would I leave extra manna on the ground when it’s right there to collect? It’ll go to waste…who wants waste? What if I’m unable to get out there tomorrow and get my share? I better gather up some more…
For me, this is a continual life struggle:
Trusting in tomorrow’s manna.
Today’s manna is right before me, but…what about tomorrow?
As my family is in the early stages of a new life chapter with my husband starting his own business, boy do I wish I could see tomorrow’s manna.
But that’s just it. I don’t get to see it—I have to trust in that which I cannot see.
Let’s just say I’m not always a natural at this.
I’ve had this lesson played out for me so many times it’s ridiculous. I am so grateful God is patient with me. I picture him just shaking his head with a wry smile that I am again trying to scoop up extra manna. “There she goes again…That girl is a knucklehead. I love her, but…man, she’s a knucklehead.”
It’s hard for me not to worry about tomorrow when I am me—and especially as a mom and wife. But that is exactly what we are continually reminded to do. Period.
And while there is the physical provision of life, there is also the spiritual provision that is promised, too. I find that when I am caught up in the worry of the “physical manna” that my “spiritual manna” suffers more, and the irony is that whenever I make it a point to gather the spiritual, the physical feels bolstered, too. You’d think I would remember the order of priority, right? Knucklehead alert.
It often feels like a battle of multiple personalities. On the one hand, I know to trust. And on the other, I trust that I need to know. One day will feel calm and secure in the belief that the manna will be there every day until we reach the Promised Land. The next day I might be awash with anxiety for what tomorrow may—or may not—bring.
Thankfully, one thing I have absolutely unwavering faith about is that God loves knuckleheads. This bodes very well for me. On the days where I find myself scrambling for more manna than I should, I know I am forgiven.
And as a continual work in progress, I am grateful to see that through this past chapter of life challenges I have found myself growing in trust of tomorrow’s manna. Maybe it’s just exhaustion that is helping me say “enough” or maybe I’m finally catching on. Whatever the reason, I have a weathered sense that tomorrow when I wake there will be plenty to fill my jar.
Plenty and just enough—the way God intended.