We just returned from a tropical holiday with our children.
Our vacation had been full of adventure and amazing experiences to the point where I was exhausted by the time we returned home. Rest was not in the near future however; the mail pile was waiting to be sorted, the phone calls needed to be returned, the garden was ready to be planted, the chickens needed a new home…the list was endless but my energy was not!
I found myself overwhelmed by the demands, irritable, and unable to conjure enthusiasm for the day. I knew I had no excuse, at least none that was acceptable. With each passing day, I felt like I was drowning in a sea of busyness and slowly losing my sanity.
One day, I realized that I had not sat down to pray for 3 weeks. For 3 weeks! How had that happened!?
Oh, I had thrown prayers upward in passing each morning on our vacation and throughout the day as well, but being surrounded by people each day made it difficult to really take the necessary time to listen to God’s voice and soak in His Word. I wasn’t struggling to get back into the routine of life as much as I was starving – starving for God’s presence!
The next morning, I woke up earlier than normal and stumbled
my way to the couch. I sat in my favourite chair, with my coffee,
and breathed in LIFE.
The tears poured as my heart returned to the
One who was waiting for me to come home.
I knew better than to leave so much space in between time with God, but I had allowed a dozen excuses to keep me from collecting my daily manna.
We read of the importance of collecting manna daily in Exodus 16. After escaping a life of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites journeyed towards the Promised Land, but when the trip took them through the Desert of Sin (how very apt), they started to grumble and complain.
“If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!
There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted…” (Verse 3, NIV).
The Lord answered by providing the people of Israel with quail at night and thin, white flakes in the morning.
“What is it?” The Israelites asked.
‘Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.” (Verse 15b, NIV)
The rules were simple; collect as much manna as needed in the morning and no more. You could not collect manna for the next morning unless it was the Sabbath. If you were lazy and tried to collect extra manna so you could sleep in the next morning, you would find the manna to be spoiled and infested with maggots.
It was white as milk and tasted like honey.
For forty years, the Lord sustained His people on this diet.
The manna was a constant reminder that they were reliant on
God’s provision and mercy. He provided it. They merely showed up to collect it. It was also a reminder that they were destined for a land flowing with milk and honey - the manna was a substitute until they arrived at their final destination.
How often do I try to collect my manna ahead of time?
I try to coast on past spiritual victories, rather than treat each new day as a blank slate. I think that what I did yesterday should count for today.
Surely, the fact that I’ve been daily collecting manna for 10, 20, 30 years means I could have a day off, right?
The truth is, I can’t.
Not without starving my soul.
Not if I want to live in victory.
Not if I want to experience the fullness of His presence.
For Jesus is our Daily Bread. He is meant to be our portion every day.
He is not interested in just being the God of Sundays;
He wants to be the God of each day.
And when we feast on His word and enjoy His presence,
we are catching a glimpse of the day that we will worship and bow down
before Him in eternity.
For now, we content ourselves with a taste of the milk and honey
that awaits us in the Promised Land.
Oh, Sister, He is waiting for you!
He longs for you to come into His presence,
to take encouragement from His Word,
and to feast under the banner of His love.
Make time to collect your manna; it is so well worth it!