I thought it would be about enough. But I was wrong.
God spoke to Moses, “I’ve listened to the complaints of the Israelites. Now tell them: ‘At dusk you will eat meat and at dawn you’ll eat your fill of bread; and you’ll realize that I am God, your God.’” That evening quail flew in and covered the camp and in the morning there was a layer of dew all over the camp. When the layer of dew had lifted, there on the wilderness ground was a fine flaky something, fine as frost on the ground. The Israelites took one look and said to one another, man-hu (What is it?). They had no idea what it was. So Moses told them, “It’s the bread God has given you to eat. And these are God’s instructions: ‘Gather enough for each person, about two quarts per person; gather enough for everyone in your tent.’”
The morning’s quiet found me in Exodus 16. Once again, God’s people complained because God was not providing as they desired. It was a long road they were traveling, and there seemed no end in sight. But He had been there with them – though they struggled to see Him.
And yet, Got didn’t walk away. He heard their complaints, and He didn’t walk away. He opened the door once again for them to see evidence of His caring and His love.
The evenings came, and there was meat for them – fuel for healing. And in the mornings, there was bread – energy for the journey. It was unlike anything they had ever seen before – it was God’s own recipe. He instructed them to take as much as they needed. He told them not to hoard and not to save back – but to take enough to care for those in their charge. Some listened. And some didn’t. And for those who didn’t – the leftovers were rendered useless. The meat couldn’t last and the bread didn’t stay. God’s enough was their enough – if they had ears to hear.
He gives enough. He takes care of our needs – in the most beautiful of ways. He uses His recipes and provides in His ways. He carefully offers, and He instructs us on how to receive and how to share.
That story would have been an excellent story to remember, especially in this season of reconciiation and in this year of the word “redeem.” But there was something else I needed to learn.
God provided manna. And He provided quail. His answer to breakfast looked like frost that had to be scraped away to be eaten. His recipe for bread was so outlandish that those who saw it simply asked, “what is it?” And his answer to dinner was small birds – tasty but small. Once caught, they have to be killed, plucked and cooked.
I know me far too well. I would have prayed for a meal. And I would have then complained about the time consumed in preparing it.
I would have scraped my own knees in the scraping. Bloodied myself in the killing. Wearied my hands in the plucking. Would have gotten pissed that no one was offering to do the nasty work for me. And wanted to kill anyone who still confessed to being hungry.
I would have questioned God’s recipes. I would have wanted to add a little something else to make them more palatable, or would have tried to adjust the process to get to the table more quickly.
I think about His answers to prayers like “use me, Lord.” Sometimes His answers come in perfect conversations with words that seem other worldly – words that even I’m amazed to hear. But more often than not, “use me” means scrubbing toilets or listening without saying a word or managing the money on a mission trip or staying up all night as a friend spirals.
His provision. His recipes. I still have so much to learn.
Sweet Father, forgive me for making little of Your recipes. Forgive me for thinking I know better ways to bring about healing or reconciliation, that I know better ways to provide.
Forgive me for not saying “thank You” enough when Your provision looks more like frost on the ground. Forgive me for not saying “thank You” enough when Your provision looks like the work of gathering and laboring hard.
How about you? How are you at receiving God’s provision? What do you do with God’s recipes?