Sometimes the littlest offhand comment can leave quite the impact. More than hit the mark for which it was aimed, it can also serve to have meaning far beyond what it was intended…if you let it. Continue reading “When in Doubt, Just Trust Your Hand”
A friend recently shared in a Facebook status how she had been looking for her glasses for a good ten minutes before realizing they were on her face. I smiled at the thought and remembered the time my mom couldn’t find her glasses and my dad was helping her look for them—and all the while he was unknowingly wearing her glasses instead of his own. I walked into the scene wondering what they were looking for, and as my mom explained and my dad turned and looked at me, I offered, “Uh…Dad…you’re wearing Mom’s glasses…”
Of course, I found it extremely amusing.* Not only were my mom’s frames pretty different from my dad’s, but her prescription was way heavier than his. I wondered what he must have been thinking through the blur. Perhaps he just chalked it up to a lack of sleep or a rough morning. Whatever the case, he didn’t see that he had the answer right in front of him.
Last week I wrote about listening for God’s whisper, and it reminded me of an analogy that came to me long ago for how God can reveal himself to us.
Think about water.
Scientifically, water presents itself in the three very different forms of solid, liquid, and gas…but this blog isn’t known for its scientific ponderings, now is it? (Not to say this blog is known for anything. It just for sure isn’t known for its science.)
Let’s be a bit more figurative.
You’ve got rain, snow, a babbling brook, blocks of ice, the drip of a faucet, or the crashing of a wave. There is the steam of a hot summer day or the pounding of a waterfall. Water is an amazing creation that manifests itself in numerous ways.
Perhaps God comes to us in such forms, too (though since he’s God and all, his ways are infinite and so much more awesome (literally) than my analogy).
For me, as I bet for you, too, God does indeed show up in various ways. Sometimes in order for him to get my attention, he has to hammer at me in relentless, all-encompassing waves. These God waves are hard to ignore. Just like a real wave, you could get knocked over and even pulled under. (For these last couple years, it kind of feels like this is his go-to form for me. Good thing he offers a Life preserver.)
At other times, there is the diminutive drip of a faucet that offers a steady rhythm that can either be so subtle I miss it…or it drives me crazy in its faint constancy. I think of this way as the little Voice that speaks in the background of my mind. It’s not my little voice, who often needs a kick in the pants, but The Voice (no, not the TV show) that offers me soft reminders of the Way I should be going.
I’ve been blessed to see a few waterfalls in my life, including Niagara Falls. The power is astounding. Even watching from afar, the mist generated from the might of the falls can leave you drenched. There is strength and majesty that cannot be denied. If you, like me, have ever been silly enough to try to stand under a waterfall (not Niagara—I’m not that stupid), depending on the size of the fall, it can feel like a needle-like pelting or a beat down deluxe. (Yes, I’ve done it more than once. I am that stupid. And it’s a safe bet I’ll do it again, given the chance.) No, in the waterfall comparison, it’s not being under the falls that God shows up but the ability to see his glory from afar and remember how beautiful it all is.
I could go on about how rain and snow and steam can each be metaphors for the way God can come to us, but…I think you get the idea. Water shows up in many different ways, and so does God.
Sometimes he is subtle and sometimes not so much. No matter which way it is, though, it IS. And for me, I need to keep my eyes open and understand that the way I think he should reveal himself isn’t necessarily the way he will.
Just like my dad looked all around for my mom’s glasses not realizing 1. he had them on, and 2. his vision was incredibly blurry, I too often miss the answer right in front of me and ignore the signs that are trying to point that out to me.
Thankfully, God is able to meet me where I am and come to me in the way I need…even if my vision is so blurry I don’t know what I’m looking for.
*For those of you who know my ridiculous fondness for a certain joke, please know it took a huge amount of restraint for me not to tell my dad he had made a spectacle of himself.
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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.