When we last shared life with all of you, faithful blog readers, we were closing out a hellish 2016 and hoping for a brighter 2017. We shouted from the rooftops that you aren't alone and we're WITH YOU (Check out Blog Post #15: With You). Well, I'm here to tell you that 2017 has been moving along at a frightening pace for a couple of months now, and we seem to be following the same kinds of bizarre life trends. Highs and lows. Victories and defeats. Because of this pattern we seem to be in, I've started the habit of shutting down my social media "presence" for the final week of every month, creating a fast of sorts to allow more space and time and breath. A time to close my eyes and ears and heart to the noise of the world and open them to hear the voice of God. It's been convicting. It's been joyful. It's been downright weird. But as I sit at the keys thinking through what I'm going to share, I see how it's been just what I needed.
Our septic tank got blocked and full and ended up backwashing into our basement. Fun story right? Mind you, this is two weeks after our stove broke. And I got a ticket and found out our license plates were expired. (Long story, totally my fault, but remember how 2016 went for us?!) I remember driving to work one day and having a heart to heart with God about it. Asking Him why things like this keep happening over and over and over again. Demanding an answer from the heights of heaven about why life was so low. Have you been there with me recently? Broken and confused and quite frankly, scared out of your mind about where even your next breath or dollar would come from? I just want a break from the madness, right? I want to have some extra to treat my kids to a fun adventure, to pay off debt, to celebrate making it through some long nights. Is that so much to ask of a loving Father? And in that angry, ugly-cry moment where I laid it out, it was like a wave of comfort washed over me. Because I remembered.
In the ancient days, Moses was leading the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. God had listened to their cries during their bondage and freed them in a holy and majestic way. They were hiking towards the Promised Land where they would have food, shelter, and freedom in abundance. But, if you are familiar with that Exodus story, you know they got sidetracked and ended up spending 40 years wandering in the wilderness. In their stubbornness and pride, they refused to follow the path God created. And in His grace and mercy, God kept them in His hand through the wilderness. But the part that I remembered in my car, in the middle of my own little wilderness, was the bread they received from heaven during their wandering. Exodus 16 records the account of the "manna" experience. Each day as the sun rose and the dew dried up, God gave the Israelites just enough bread for the day they were in. If they took extra, it rotted. If they didn't take enough before the Sabbath, they were hungry. It was said repeatedly that the Lord provided as much as each one needed.
As much as needed. No more. No less. And the amounts looked different at each campsite. “Some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it…he who had gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.” (Vv.17-18) This was the reminder of faithfulness that washed over me that day in the car. God provided what we needed, money, people, encouragement, everything we needed right when we needed it. Nothing extra. We aren’t extra people. We’ve never been “extra” people. And that’s because, I think, we can sometimes see the glory of God in the “just enough.” The Lord told Moses, “you will be filled with bread and then you will know that I am the Lord your God.” I think part of knowing God is seeing His glory. But there are days and seasons that we ugly-cry, where I ugly-cry, and forget that God has been waking us up with His glory bread every day for years. And beyond that, He sent His Son to earth so we could experience what life looks like every day with glory bread.
So, in your moments of not enough, or how will I get through this, remember that God is there. He is waiting to remind you that He is enough, just enough for what you need to get through and then to help others get through as well. This isn’t a journey in the wilderness that we take alone. And it’s something we all need to remember, together.
Maggie O'Brien | Student Ministries Small Groups Coordinator