What is manna? According to Merriam Webster, there are a few definitions that go as follows:
- food miraculously supplied to the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness
- divinely supplied spiritual nourishment
- a usually sudden and unexpected source of gratification, pleasure, or gain
While I don’t think there will be bread falling from heaven anytime soon, God continues to provide us with spiritual nourishment and many other sources of gain and gratification. Manna can be those small basic gifts, which sustain us each day, but that we so often miss. Much of the time we are hurting, distracted, irritated and busy, making it difficult to notice and comprehend the variety of ways that God provides for us.
This blog has been born out of the loss of our baby nearly 3 years ago. That experience and the months following it had left me depleted in every way – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I was unsure as to how I was going to survive. And to be honest, there were a lot of days in which I didn’t want to survive. There were a lot of days in which I felt like I wanted to die, and some in which I thought I might.
But slowly, the Lord started showing me his provision and the many ways in which he was sustaining me. No, it wasn’t bread raining down from heaven, but these comparatively small things were just as important to me as that manna was to the Israelites.
He sustained me with his words.
- Revelation 21:4 says “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” Through these words, he reminded me that this pain would only be temporary, and although life would be full of pain, the pain on this earth would be nothing compared to the glory of heaven (Romans 8:18).
- Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” He reminded me that he could see me and feel my pain, even if no one else did.
- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” He had molded me into a more compassionate person and equipped me to bring comfort to others.
He sustained me by the support of those who cried with me, brought me meals, and validated the life of my baby. He provided family and friends to help carry my burdens and to step in to help take care of me and my little family.
He sustained me with the words of others. I felt such comfort reading the words of others who had experienced loss and truly understood the depths of my grief. I no longer felt alone and that in itself was a blessing.
The Lord had provided manna in the madness of my life.
Realizing all of these things began to open my eyes to the small gifts that were right in front of me each day.
A long day of mothering that ends with an “I love you” from my daughter. That’s manna.
A sleepless night that ends with a stunning sunrise that dazzles both my eyes and my heart. That’s manna.
The words “The Lord is my helper (Hebrews 13:6)” sustaining me through a long bout of illness. That’s manna.
A story I read online where I think to myself “me too,” a source of encouragement in knowing that I am not alone. That’s manna.
Manna is most certainly found in reading scripture. But it is also found in reading the stories of others, these shared stories often bringing a sense of support, encouragement, and understanding to both the people reading them, and the people writing them. Manna can be found in each good day and in each bad day, if we choose to see it.
So Manna in the Madness. It’s a place to be nourished by scripture, stories, and shared experiences in the craziness of everyday life. It’s a place of encouragement as we share both our struggles and successes. It’s a place where hope is gained through God’s word and the shared words of his people, because you never know who might be nourished by reading both our words and His.
I challenge you to look for manna from the Lord in each day, each experience, and each circumstance. He does not fail to provide!