The other day I was sitting on our back porch complaining to my husband about the quarantine, and my recent decision before the quarantine to put my career on pause and become a stay-at-home mom.
I was complaining that I missed the community that I had when I was coaching a team of high schoolers and how they looked to me for guidance, which made me feel like I had a useful purpose. I missed general fellowship with my mom and my girlfriends when we got to uplift each other in our young mom struggles.
In quarantine, I was not getting that interaction. Who did I have to serve? Nobody needed me. I NEED COMMUNITY! I need to feel like I am serving, and I am making efforts to positively impact lives.
My husband just kind of shrugged the way he does when I get on a dead-end rant and said, “I don’t know how to help you right now, but God has a purpose in all things. Just be patient.”
I stubbornly huffed and puffed back into the living room and grudgingly sat down with my Bible study book to study about the Israelites wandering around in the dessert. Boy was I relating to that story.
“Mmhmm,” I thought smugly to myself, “I know what it’s like to feel stuck and wandering without a sense of purpose.”
The Israelites knew that God had a destination for them, and yet they had to just… wait.
Dear Lord Jesus, how on Earth will we survive?!
“Mm I feel ya Israel.”
And then I get to the part about God sending them manna.
Now, loosely translated, the word manna means “what the heck is this?”
Manna was bread dropped to earth every morning with the dew, and the Israelites were supposed to gather just enough for each day. It would sustain them in this waiting period. This was not what the Israelites were used to, and they started whining and complaining and wishing for their days back in captivity in Egypt when they could eat onions. (Numbers 11:4-5).
Now I love some good cooking, but if you asked me if I would rather eat onions or bread from heaven, I feel like most days the choice is pretty simple.
At this point, I started getting frustrated with the Israelites, “Guys! God has given you everything you need to survive this time and yet you’re still complaining. All you have to do is chill out and eat some bread, and God will let you into the promised land when He’s ready.”
Oh. And suddenly I felt very small minded and ungrateful. God was providing me with manna, and I was grumbling about missing onions. Manna was unfamiliar to the Israelites, but it was sustenance for the current situation.
I cannot take my son to the park… Complain… We find a swing to set up on the back porch… manna… I can’t have lunch with my family… complain… my cousins call to chat because they’re bored… manna… I don’t get to go to church and experience corporate worship… complain… bible study with my girls on zoom… manna.
“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’” Exodus 16:12 (NIV)
God is alive and providing for us; we need only to open our eyes and look for that manna. It may not look like the onions that we were used to, but that does not mean it is not sustenance and that does not mean He doesn’t still have a plan for you.