I’ve been mulling over a sign I’ve seen on one of our local churches for a few weeks now:
God hasn’t forgotten the recipe for manna.
I wasn’t sure right at first why it kept catching my attention. We know from the book of Exodus that when the Israelites escaped Egypt they endured hardships and grumbled, even suggesting they had been better in slavery if they would only starve in the desert. So the Lord told Moses that he would rain down bread from heaven. For some, the message of the manna tells of obedience and that’s an important lesson of course. But as I thought of that church banner, my heart was focused on the faithfulness of God. What is his recipe for manna?
We lost my sister suddenly about nineteen years ago this coming Thanksgiving. It was my first year of marriage and my husband and I were out of town with his family. Meanwhile, my family was gathering at my parents’ house. A undiagnosed aneurysm took eighteen-year-old Cori that afternoon with all of my family there. All but me.
Circumstances were such that I couldn’t get back home until the next morning. I was devastated when I heard the news. I remember screaming and throwing the phone. I spent that evening crying in bed, clutching my rosary and wondering how this had happened and begging God to help me.
My mind was hazy and my heart lost as I board the airplane early the next morning. But the moment I stepped off the plane, His strength bolstered me, cleared my mind. He nourished me with “just as much” as I needed to take care of my family in those days of laying my sister to rest.
Unequivocally, it was Him, not me that saw us through that. Because I was a broken soul, so lost in my grief that I would have had no ability at all. But he was my manna in my hour of need. But too, He made me the manna for my family.
And I thought of this, of the manna that nourishes our souls daily. Sometimes without us even knowing it. Because there is never, ever a day that he fails to rain down for us. But sometimes we are as the Israelites, grumbling about what we don’t have when we have only to look up to see the truth.
My husband and I have had a rough year. We’ve been embroiled in lawsuits within our community that pitted people we once considered friends against us. We moved here to our lake home seeking a community to which we could enjoy his retirement years. In some ways, it began to seem like our bane instead of our dream.
I’ve been using my new series as a cathartic release for my anxiety, hurt and my anger. And it’s helping, but the one area I’ve had the most trouble with is my anger. And because of that, I’ve found it hard to offer forgiveness. In fact, I’ve rebelled the idea of forgiving. I’ve held my fury in my hand and shaken my fist towards the heavens in abject rejection of forgiving the hurts… but lately, I’ve felt this little whisper in my ear that I have to let it go.
So God provided the manna. Earlier this week a post appeared on Faithful.live with a big banner that said: “as we Forgive those who trespass against us.” And I wept as I read it because I knew that my Lord was speaking to me. And after that I pronounced in my heart that I forgave those who wronged us (if you read the article you’ll understand that I haven’t yet forgiven them. But I’ve opened my heart to God’s grace so that I will eventually.)
I’ve realized more lately how blessed I am to have my husband by my side. We’ve often joked over the years that we take turns if one of us isn’t feeling well or has a bad day, the other picks up the slack. But isn’t that His gift, to give us our helpmate in times of need? Again, the manna in the form of a partner for our lives.
And now that God is working on my heart, I know that now my husband and I can work together so that we can both reach the point of forgiveness. And so that someday soon, we too will discover the peace that can only be had by our Lord within our hearts.
So today the lesson of the manna is twofold. One, that I should always try to be open to receive whatever nourishment he provides. But also, just as importantly, that I should accept God’s calling that I be His manna.