Trying to please people with different taste buds is a major challenge in a family, even of three. More than once I placed something new on the table. Usually Lisa would ask, “what is it?” I knew that how I answered that question would either entice Lisa into a first bite or make me look for something else for her to eat.
The Children of Israel had something of the same experience without as many options. God provided fast food for their wilderness trek. Manna was the first “what is it?” I’ve been guilty of accusing these travelers of ingratitude. You know, beggars can’t be choosers and all.
And then it hit me like a sand storm. Where have I complained about manna? Where have I been ungrateful for something God calls need-meeting and I call unpleasant. Where have I asked God for sustenance and walked right past what God provided because it didn’t look like what I expected?
The whatisit in my life right now has involved going to a different church every Sunday. I walk into unfamiliar surroundings with the tug-of-war fight of wanting to be recognized but remain anonymous. We’ve spent our lives establishing community. Community is at the heart of Kingdom work. And here we are without it.
But what if this Sunday to Sunday walk is manna to feed my soul. What if this unwanted routine is God’s daily bread, His gift to be savored. And I complain? Just like the Israelites?
Does He have to force feed me to get me to see His generous provision? I hope not. A slow learner I may be, but I am willing to learn. Somewhere in the middle of the last eight months, I stopped trying to enjoy the experience and started looking for what God had tucked away, like a scavenger hunt. A phrase in an unfamiliar song. A scripture I hadn’t read in ages. Someone’s smile. A creative thought to blog. A spiritual hole God showed me He could fill if I let Him. Manna. God-feast!
Where else have I missed God’s manna because I was expecting His answer to look different?
What if I were to put aside my expectations and just come ready to worship. What if I show up every Sunday, no matter what they sing or how they sing it, no matter who preaches or how, and just expect to hear from God without attaching my preferences to it? What if I return worship to being about God and what He wants from me rather than somehow twisting it to what I want from worship? Would I understand that manna is no longer some whatisit on the spiritual food pyramid? That it is exactly what God provides to meet my real needs?
Maybe I can prevent some wilderness treks in my future if I live to hear . . .
Take. Eat. This is what you need.