Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Women in the Word Wednesdays: 5-18-11: Manna in the Desert
Our family is in a figurative desert, so to speak.
God has recently allowed a certain, difficult trial to enter our lives. To righteously respond in our actions and attitudes requires daily trust in Him, recalling His attributes and promises.
We recognize that God never promises to make life easy or perfect in the sense of what the world values. The oft recited Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" does not mean God is always going to give us the desires of our heart and bless us in material ways. It means He is going to give us what Christians need to be more and more conformed to the image of Christ and to align with His will--to grow in humility and holiness in order to bring God glory.
We might face sickness, material loss, waiting, and pain--all for our benefit. It sounds backwards, but our ways and understanding are not God's ways and understanding. If it were up to us, we'd vote for comfortable lives that don't allow for spiritual pruning or growth. We are like the five year old who doesn't want to get his shots at the doctor's office--not seeing past the pain to the future benefit of having the innoculations.
God has been good, even in one week, to provide figurative manna to us. We have been given friends and family who encourage us, God's Word which focuses and teaches us truths to combat our sinful emotions, snippets of unexpected good news to show God's hand even in the trial, and many little crumbs of blessings and grace that remind us God provides for and loves us--even while He allows this desert.
It is amazing how true it is that God gives us that "manna" of provision and encouragement at just the time we need it. We are asked to respond to trials with godliness and trust, but God gives us the tools to do so. We just have to recognize those tools and use them with thankfulness.
Today, God provided the manna of a great Bible study at church, the encouragement of friends in my small group, an unexpected e-mail of good news from my husband, lunch with my mom, the health of my kids, and always, always the everlasting, firm truths of scripture. He doesn't HAVE to give me all these blessings--the cross should be enough to drag me to my knees in thankfulness and obedience--but He still does because He loves me, and I recognize His goodness and grace as I walk through the unknown desert and scoop up the "manna" with a thankful and trusting heart.