Mercies & Manna
It’s been several years since the Lord whispered these words to me for the first time.
It was a moment I will never forget.
I was in my car, headed to a women’s bible study group. Now, please don’t be offended when I say that women's bible study can be a huge blessing, but it can also be a huge headache. I was leading a class, so I had to go, but I was worn to the core and didn’t know if I had anything left to pour out.
If I am being really honest, when I get to that level of weariness, grace and kindness are not what pours out of me. All it takes is for some unknowing person to say something or do something, and what comes out of me is more like salt & vinegar.
I remember driving and not being able to formulate words that could be construed as prayer. But God.... he knew exactly what I was saying. Ever so gently, he whispered:
“Mercies & Manna”
My heart was put to ease immediately. I love how the Lord does that! He gives you something so simple and yet so comforting. What the Lord was telling me that day was something that I understood in my head, but my heart has struggled with over the years. I did not have to work out of my own strength, I could trust him to do all that was needed.
“My grace is sufficient for you,
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
It was in Paul's weakness that the Lord's strength could be perfected. (2 Cor 12:9) Now, I have come nowhere near suffering as Paul had or any of the others that have been persecuted for their faith. However, I have had my own struggles in life that make me want to run as fast as I can to a plane, or a ship, or anything that will take me away from the demands of the people around me or life in general. That is where I was that morning. The Lord met me in my despair and exhaustion, and he promised me provision. I knew that I could walk into that group of women and not have to worry about lashing out at someone who didn't deserve it.
The prophet Jeremiah (Lamentations 3:22-23) tells us that we are not consumed because the Lord’s mercies are new Every.Single.Morning! There might be days that are so hard that it feels as though we cannot live through them, then we go to bed and wake up the next morning. The fact that we wake up and draw breath that next morning is God’s provision. Even if we are waking to unchanging circumstances, we can draw from the Lord’s mercies that are renewed every morning.
As if that was not enough, there is more. His Manna, practical provision from heaven. ( Exodus16)
As the Israelites left their land of captivity, they journeyed through the desert. They complained because in captivity they had an abundance of meat and bread and were never hungry. Though they were free, they were hungry and longed for the earlier days of captivity because at least their stomachs were full of comfort.
Can you relate to choosing your own captivity because you don’t want to do without something that fills you? That is a whole other subject for another day, though.
The Lord heard the complaint of His people and answered them. He provided food for them. He provided meat in the evening in the form of quail, and in the morning they were provided manna from heaven. They woke up to manna on the ground for them to collect! We are told that the manna tasted like wafers made with honey. They ate freely without having to work for their food.
They were given instructions to gather enough for each person so that they were full, but they could not store it. If they tried to save “left-overs”, they would rot. They needed to depend on the Lord daily. The Lord was faithful to provide food for them for 40 years until they got to the land they had been promised and could settle down.
Oh, the lessons we can learn from our forefathers of faith.
The comfort for me in Mercies & Manna was twofold that day driving into bible study. The Lord had heard me! He heard me and he answered me, just like he had heard the Israelites. His answer was that He would be my strength and provision when I had nothing left to give anyone.
It’s been many years since that morning, but Mercies & Manna have stayed with me and have often reminded me of the comfort the Lord brought me that day. He has been faithful to provide all I have needed; be it the grace to get through a hard day or the provision to pay the bills.
Do you need a fresh outpouring of God’s provision? I don’t know what you are struggling with today, but I know that we live in a time where struggle seems to be at every turn.
We may know God is faithful but in that moment of overwhelming need sometimes we forget. Take heart, my friend! May you be strengthened and comforted by the gentle whisperings of Mercies & Manna today.