What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
Coffee and eggs? Yogurt and granola? Oatmeal?
Chocolate cake? (I won’t judge.)
Whatever it was, what if I told you the good news that God was going to miraculously provide you and your whole family with [whatever you ate for breakfast]–and only that– for every single meal, for the next 40 years.
Yes, 40 years. That’s 43,800 meals of [whatever you ate for breakfast].
You’d never have to buy it. Never have to grocery shop. Never have to meal plan. Never have to wonder what you’re going to fix for dinner. Never another question from your kids or husband about what was for dinner! You’d be eating [whatever you ate for breakfast] no matter what day, time, meal, or year it was.
Aren’t you excited???
Some hesitation, yes? Some hesitation because on the one hand, Yes, it’d be awesome to have this miraculous provision. It would certainly save some $! If you spent $500/month on food, this would save you $240,000 over those 40 years. That’s great!
Most of us recognize that we are slaves to variety, and the reality of eating the exact same thing, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, for not one, not two, but forty years would be virtually intolerable for us.
We’d have to coin a new term to describe our demise: Death by monotony.
Or, consider the clothes you have on right now. What if I told you that what you had on would never wear out for 40 years? That is, you are now going to wear exactly what you have on, and only that, for the next 40 years, and God will miraculously make it so it never wears out? Aren’t you excited?? Never have to spend another cent on clothing. Never having to decide what to wear. Wouldn’t that be great?!
In college, I had the joy of traveling to Europe for a month. Because I knew we’d be covering many miles each day, on foot, I packed light. Very light. A few black knit long dresses, a black t-shirt, one pair of black walking shoes, a black sweater, and underwear.
That was it. I will say, I was glad to have packed that light, when traveling all those miles. It was nice not to make many decisions each day, and I splurged on a pair of jeans in Paris and then felt absolutely spoiled rotten with choices. But, by the time I got home, a month later, I never wanted to see those clothes again. The local Goodwill was still too near. I wanted them burned. 🙂 And that was only a month!
Similarly, I mentioned before that this summer we did a 40-day fast. Each day, we had a protein shake for breakfast, a certain smoothie for lunch, and spinach/brown rice for dinner. That was it. Every day. And although we truly felt great physically and spiritually, and each of those meals was satisfying and sustaining, it’s also true that when we were done I really, really really wanted a break from spinach and brown rice. It actually took a couple months before I was ready to eat that combo again. Again, that was only 40 days.
Who knew we were so driven by a desire for variety?
I’ve been struck afresh by the miraculous manna from Exodus 16. We’re probably all familiar with this story, but I’m seeing some personal applications in a whole new way.
Now, the original plan was not 40 years. Their journey was lengthened significantly by sin: Namely complaining and unbelief. More on that later. For now, How many of us would actually be thankful for this provision? How many of us (my hand’s up) would be howling in protest, maddened by the monotony, instead of thanking God for His miraculous provision?
On Sunday night, as we gathered for Bible study, we began by simply going around and sharing something simple we were grateful for. Girls, it was SO eye-opening. I had just deleted Facebook off my phone because it feels like an onslaught of sarcasm, divisive comments, complaining, arguing. It’s great for some people, but I’m apparently too weak to handle it, and I end up feeling sad, hurt, or agitated. What a powerful perspective-changer it was for me to sit around with these women and hear their dozen stories of all the ways God is good, of His grace and generosity.
Even the girl whose dad had just died a few days before was so eager to share the ways she was grateful for God’s goodness. What a gift! With tears in our eyes we rejoiced with her, so encouraged that she was seeing God’s goodness in the midst of her pain.
Gratitude is so contagious.
We’ll talk more about manna in the days to come, but for now, I’m endeavoring to be grateful for God’s provision.
How has God provided for you this week?
Thanks for reading.