Thursday, July 4, 2013

Despising Manna

When I became a believer, Jesus took me by the hand and led me out of the dumpy, dilapidated ghetto that I was living in {spiritually speaking} and escorted me to a perfect home that was custom made just for me. I remember looking around at my new digs, feeling such peace and awe, understanding at once that this was all designed with me in mind.

And for a while, I was perfectly happy to be there.


Well. After a while, I got bored. I got restless. I got lonely.

Yes, I know Jesus was there with me and I know I didn't need to be lonely or bored, but sometimes I got lazy and eventually I got uncomfortable with His constant company. I started wistfully remembering my old, junky house and neighborhood. I stopped talking to Him so much and started listening to my own wandering thoughts.

Here is where I am going to take a brief detour, because this is a loaded thought.

Now, I admit it, I was remembering only the pleasant things that came to mind, and that wasn't a very accurate whole picture. Haven't you ever done that? Remembered the old music you used to listen to or some of the foolish (but fun!) things you did with people you used to be friends with? And it's weird how almost anything can bring it all back in living color, something as simple as a song on the radio or the smell of the ocean or the taste of a certain food.

It reminds me of the Bible, when the Israelites started talking about the awesome food they used to nosh on in Egypt, instead of remembering that realistically, the were SLAVES there, for the love, and no matter how amazing those grilled leeks and onions were, being a slave wasn't worth it.

Manna got boring, folks. The Israelites got sick of eating it day in, day out. Manna souffle. Manna waffles. Filet of Manna. There's only so much you can do to disguise the fact that you're consuming the same thing every darn day.

It's easy for us to see that they were ungrateful jerks because, hello! God was raining down bread from Heaven to meet all their needs and they didn't have to do anything but gather it up every day and eat it.

The thing is, I see myself in the Israelites all the time. I get bored with God. I get sick of reading my Bible, my devotional books, and sometimes even with church. I know I'm getting fed and I know I should be grateful, but I start reminiscing on the highs I experienced when I was living a carnal life, and I think I miss it, because I don't remember that I was a slave.

So, I traipse out of my safe places and I decide to go back for a visit. And because Jesus is the best friend ever, He comes with me. I can hear Him gently showing me that this life is not what I am meant for but I ignore Him and turn up the music.

Eventually I fall and I fall hard. I feel broken up everywhere and so, so alone. Jesus is there, and He holds me close and forgives me even though I am willful and rebellious and stubborn. And I realize maybe He needed me to fall this hard so that I'd see the truth about my old neighborhood, my so-called innocent pleasures, and the deceitful nature of my sinful, wandering heart.

Grace has a way of healing our spiritual sight. For me, it has caused me to be incapable of looking back without recognizing that it is slavery I have left behind. And nothing is worth being a slave.

The Bible teaches that we becomes slaves to whomever we obey. We are either slaves to sin or we are slaves to righteousness. There in no neutral ground.

I've been bought by God Himself and at a great price. When I struggle with feelings of unworthiness, when I feel temporarily swallowed up by shame and struggle to lift my head, it helps to remember that He has put a tremendous value on my life. I am His.

I am challenged to look past the manna to the One who provides it for me everyday. I get so caught up on the again-ness of it all, sometimes. I can be a slave to emotion, to feelings. I admit it, I like to feel a certain way when I hear a great sermon or sing along with praise and worship music or read a applicable passage of scripture.

And sometimes, I don't. I feel nothing.

You know what? I can not remember a day in my life that I have gone hungry. I was blessed as a child with parents who took good care of me. Now, my husband does. I have usually eaten three meals a day, every single solitary day of my life.

I could not begin to tell you about every meal I have eaten over the course of my lifetime, and I am quite sure that many of them were less than exciting and definitely at least some of them were down-right unpalatable.

But I know that I received nourishment from each one.

Friends, don't despise the manna God provides for you. Don't look back and long for the leeks and onions of this world, forgetting that the cost is slavery and brutal beatings. It's not worth it, I promise you.

Let me gently encourage you to let grace clear your spiritual vision and cleanse your spiritual palate so you can TASTE and SEE that God is good!

I want to end with the wee prayer on my heart...

Jesus? This girl is just crazy about you. Thank you for manna. Thank you for grace. Thank you that with post-sin grace comes 20/20 vision. I am so grateful that You use ALL THINGS for my good and Your glory. Thank you for teaching me to see and savor You, a little bit more, every day.

amy danielle

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