I like to eat. I mean, I really like to eat. The joy I get from a delicious meal is next-level. Living in New York City for 4 years opened my heart and my palate to a myriad of new cuisines that I had never been exposed to in Texas, where our 2 main food groups are BBQ and Tex-Mex. Some Big Apple culinary highlights: Koreatown in Manhattan (32nd Street, to be exact) is where you’ll find an entirely different take on BBQ, hand-made dumplings, a million varieties of Kimchi, savory noodle soups, and crisp fried chicken. Head on over to Queens (where we lived), and you’ll find an array of Thai food (I once met Jesus in a bowl of coconut rice), Mediterranean delicacies like Baklava (sure to be served at the Marriage Support of the Lamb), Chinese hand-pulled noodles that will make you weep, and all manner of Caribbean food (I’d kill for a Jamaican beef patty or some stewed Oxtails right about now). I haven’t even mentioned the random food trucks that reside on nearly every street corner in all 5 boroughs. Absolutely gourmet. The best hotdogs and pretzels you’ll ever eat. Or find a Halal cart and order some lamb over rice. Then there’s the pizza…I forgot to mention the sublimity of a New York slice. Oh gosh, and the Cuban food…
I could fill this entire blog post with foods that I love. Because I love food. When it’s good, it’s glorious.
But like clockwork, the past 6 months back in Texas have made me fall into my old habits. My restaurant experiences now consist of Chick-fil-A, Mi Cocina, and Papa John’s pizza delivery. Lather, rinse, repeat. My merry-go-round of monotonous meals.
It’s easy to grumble when life gets predictable and mundane. The Israelites knew this all too well.
Let’s meet up with Israel in Exodus 16. They had just been delivered from captivity in Egypt under the leadership of Moses. They had just witnessed plagues of every kind and had their lives spared during the Passover. They had just kicked the dust off their feet from walking across the Red Sea on dry ground. They had just experienced unimaginable signs and wonders.
But then our friends got hangry in the wilderness.
The Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron like whiney babies and complained about their lack of food. Our merciful God heard their cries and had a loving plan to provide for them in the form of crusty bread flakes on the desert floor. The people were instructed to gather only the amount of flakes they needed every morning, grind them up, and boil or bake them to create a loaf of bread. Every day. For 40 years. Doesn’t that sound delicious?
Israel was expecting milk and honey. God delivered corn flakes.
The Israelites called these crumbs “Manna,” which literally means, “What is it?” This bizarre grain was their daily provision. Their daily sustenance. Their daily bread. It was mysterious and it was miraculous.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some manna moments in my life. There have been times I’ve cried out to God for help or change or provision of some kind. And God answered me (because he always answers me), but the way he supplied my need was not quite what I expected. His method of answering my plea was not exactly what I thought it’d be. His plan left me saying, “What?????”
This is not a hot take; this is solid truth: God’s ways are higher than our ways. While Israel was questioning God’s provision for them, God was cultivating Israel’s total dependence on him.
In other words, God knew what he was doing.
God was instilling a deep trust within the hearts of the Israelites. They literally had to rely on him for every meal on a daily basis. For decades. And he never failed them.
God was engaging the Israelites in his plan. God rained down the manna, but the people had to actively collect it for themselves. They had to put feet to their faith.
God was inviting the Israelites to experience his glory. His majesty was on display every morning. His mercy and goodness could not be doubted.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the monotony of life. It’s easy to look around you and think “Is this all there is?” It’s easy for life’s repetitive rhythms to become tedious.
But your manna was never meant to be mundane.
God’s provision in your life is never humdrum, dull, or boring. And it’s never without a purpose. That job you hate? Look for God instilling a deep trust in his faithfulness. That overwhelming project? Look for God engaging your faith muscles. That troubled marriage or wayward child? Look for God’s new mercies every morning.
Friend - we have been invited to experience God’s glory on a daily basis. Please don’t ever get over this. Yes, we see his glory in miracles, signs, and wonders. But we also see his glory in our next breath. We see his glory in the roof over our heads, the food on our tables, and the clean water we drink. We see his glory in the fact that we’re still in our right minds. (I think.)
Our God is a provider. In fact, his name is Provider. And he never goes against his character. So you can totally depend on his provision in your life. It may be bizarre and unexpected and not exactly what you asked for. You may find yourself saying “What is this???” to the answers that God provides. But he knows what he’s doing. His plan is always for his glory and for your good. Your manna may be mysterious and miraculous. But it will never be mundane.
On that note, I am taking restaurant recommendations in the Dallas area. Anything other than Chick-fil-A, BBQ, or Tex-Mex. Please and thank you.