Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Can I get some butter with this Manna?

As time keeps on healing.... open wounds are scarring over and the twinge in my chest eases just a little more.  The feeling of getting to the "other side" after a long, hard season rivals only the taste of an amazing cheesecake or how I imagine it will feel someday when I'm accompanied by something borrowed and blue as I make my way down an isle on my Dad's arm as we..... step.....together....step together.....(hopefully, gracefully and without tripping ;-)

I often hear those in the Christian world compare a truly sanctifying time as being in the "desert." Some seasons can only be equated to a place with dry, cracked ground where all you do is sweat and toil, while experiencing constant cotton-mouth because of the lack of dasani! Oh to be on the other side of this type of season....sigh...and to learn to be grateful for the manna He provided along the way.

God's provision can be (and usually is) so different from what we would have planned it to be.  I'm learning this as we speak.  This was my type of plan for my 28th year of life: to be a successful, loving wife and mother (or at least with a bun in the oven ;-) ...maybe having a job that I love and a God that I feel led by and loved by and can therefore pour out that love to the broken..... probably living in the warm southeast somewhere, or in a third-world country loving Orphans or something......
.....and yet this is my manna in my 28th year of life: to have moved into a 55-and-older neighborhood in the northeast (where goosebumps have permantly taken up residence on my arms) .... My finger is ring-less and my oven... bun-less, as I face the things my heart has cowered away from for years.  I'm letting God heal the broken places as I eat this bread that floats down in ways that I, in all of my own wisdom ...would have never chosen for myself.  Instead of being amazed at the bread that's falling, I find myself unsatisfied, asking things like, "uh, yo Pops, could I at least get some butter for this manna-stuff!?" 

Perspective is a marvelous thing to grab hold of... yet it's easy for our wandering eyes to lose sight of it amongst the mirage of temptations that appear in a desert season to distract us from the daily bread.  The lack of shade, yet abundance of bland bread usually bring out a human's inner-Kindergartner as we get our pout face on....unless of course, you have successfully slid through the "suffering and perseverance" part of the growth process, and have comfortably emerged wearing "Character and Hope ;-)" For most of us, perspective tends to bear it's fruit later...like once you reach an oasis or the top of a mountain where you can gaze upon the beauty of the journey you wrestled with to get here. It's much more challenging to let thy sweet words of gratitude well up inside and roll off the tongue, when the only nourishment in sight are these sky-falling-wafers that literally translate to mean, "WHAT is it!?"

It's hard to find joy in a dry place, but its there and the desert won't last forever..... forty years might be a possibility... but not forever ;-)  Often times, the waters of joy begin to seep up toward the surface and fill the cracks once we give ourselves to gratefulness and open our eyes to the miracle of manna that surrounds us.... that helpless toddler that tries your patience, that spouse who sanctifies your spirit, that job that brings home the bacon, those encouraging words from a faithful friend.... but of course, none of it fills up your belly and satisfies your soul like the bread of life.

As I type this, the snow falls outside my window, its reflection like glitter under the street lamp... and this scripture comes to mind from Isaiah 55:

As the rain and the snow 
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth 
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Jesus.... our Manna... living water.... the bread of life.... who came down from heaven to be broken for us so that we might never again hunger or thirst.

So...Manna.....WHAT is it, you ask?  It's wonder bread, (but not the stuff you grew up eating in your school lunch with the crust cut off), and it's falling from heaven!  Enough said, right!? :-)

Much, much love,