READ: In SOLO, today, the message comes from Exodus
16 (verses 9-16). This is the story of
Moses addressing the Israelites complaints about not having any meat in the
wilderness. God told Moses to tell the
Israelites: "I've listened to the
complaints of the Israelites. Now tell
them: 'At dusk, you will eat meat and at dawn you'll eat your fill of bread,
and you'll realize that I am God, your God.'" That evening the quail flew in and they had
meat. Then, the next morning the manna
fell from Heaven but, of course, the Israelites had no idea what it was. Then, Moses informed them that it was the
bread God had given them to eat and that they were gather just enough for each
person for the day (except for on the Sabbath).
THINK: This section challenges the reader to reread
the passage, stopping to really ponder the emotions the Israelites might have
been experiencing at the time: the
neediness of complaining; the excitement of seeing the glory of God visible in
the Cloud; the perplexity of seeing this strange bread from Heaven; and the
satisfaction of having enough.
This part is
intriguing. What does the neediness of
complaining look like? Ha, well…this one
I can answer. It looks like a gaping
hole that will never be filled. But…what
it feels like is another story. I've
done my fair share of complaining.
Sometimes, I felt mad; sometimes,
lonely. But every time, I felt doubtful
and distrustful. Every time, I either
felt unloved or unlovable. But, what I
never felt, any time I complained, was satisfied or satisfy-able.
The THINK passage
goes on to encourage the us to contemplate what we would complain to God about
right now (and then instructs us to do so).
But then, it asks: "In what
ways, if any, have you been perplexed by God's response to your
complaining? How might God have truly
provided enough but you didn't recognize it as God's bread from heaven--exactly
what you needed?"
hitting a bit below the belt? Over the
past 3 years, I've had plenty to complain about. Some of it justified (in my mind) because the
situation was unjust. But, most of what
I've complained about stemmed from the fact that God did not meet my needs the
way I wanted them met. Sure, God has
provided for me. Sure, I've had plenty
to be thankful for. But, why couldn't it
look the way I wanted it too? It seems
that all my years of going to church had served to give me a good dose of
"holier than thou" but not so healthy a dose of "true
holiness" and even less gratitude.
Naturally, I was thankful when things went my way. But…why wouldn't they go my way, when I was
being a "good girl"? After
all, that is the way the world is supposed to work. Right?
It seems I had
forgotten the verses in the Bible that declare that, in this world, we will
have suffering; and that if they hated/rejected Me (Jesus), they will
hate/reject you. No…I was so busy
focusing on the "all things work together for good for those that love the
Lord" verses that I had neglected to remember all those pesky verses about
suffering. And, I’m not even going to
touch the passage about Jesus praying that "this cup" would pass from
Him, nevertheless, Lord, Your Will be done.
Those did not quite fit in with the doctrine I had developed for
myself. As it turned out, I had been
most of my reading out of the "Gospel according to Patty." And now, my faulty thinking and false
doctrine have come crashing down around my ears, and I have been left feeling
like, God is surely not enough. Or,
maybe I am just not worth what the Bible says I am. Either way, the end result has been the
same. COMPLAINING. And a general state of DISSATISFACTION.
PRAY: With the above statement in mind, I move on
to the PRAY section. In this passage, we
are encouraged to formally complain to God about everything we want to complain
about. (Fantastic, I say.) But, then, we are encouraged to ask God to
show us precisely how He has provided for us, even though we might still
what? The passage doesn't address that,
but I have filled in some blanks for myself.
If God is enough? If He has
provided me with enough? If He actually
loves me the way He says He does and will do for me what the Bible says He will
If I am honest, I
have to admit that God has provided more-than-graciously over the course of our
lives. And over the past 3 years, though
it hasn't looked the way I wanted it to, He has taken ample care of us. I have nothing to complain about. But, there's still that nagging feeling like
something might be missing, or like I might do something to make Him finally
decide to throw in the towel. That's
where the "gaping hole that can never be filled" part comes in, and I
am forced to deal with it.
If God has proven
Himself, over and over and over again, why do I still have doubts? Why must I still be so much like Eve when
that "Unfortunate Incident in the Garden" was so very many years ago?
LIVE: I will share this passage verbatim.
"Sit in the quiet and feel God's
"enoughness" in your body.
Where do you feel it? In arms
that are full? In a quiet mind? In a stomach that feels full? In muscles that work well? If you can really mean it, try delighting in
I think that part of
my issue with asking for God to reveal Himself to me over these past 3 years
has been that it felt so much like asking for yet another sign or wonder. Somewhere I got it in my head that praying that
God would comfort me or show me how he had provided for me was surely a lack of
faith. And after praying for a miracle
intervention into our situation and being denied, I was having a hard time
asking for anything at all. The one
thing I was not having a hard time doing was complaining. Much like the Israelites, wandering in the
wilderness, grumbling and complaining, I have been wandering through my own
wilderness of self-pity and doubt, grumbling and complaining that God had
I called out to God to reveal Himself to me.
Not to do a miracle for me. But
just to show me how He had been trying to reveal Himself to me, or take care of
me, and how I had missed it. Then, I
waited; sitting in the quiet, I just started listening. One day, during my devotional, I might read
something that touched me.
"Nice," I would think.
But then, just a few hours later, in class, somebody would say exactly
that same thing, or expound on the thought that occurred to me after what I
read. Then, another thought would occur
to me, and somebody else would confirm that.
By the end of the day, when I would sit down to type out my reflections
for the day, everything that I had read or heard or thought would come spilling
out onto the screen. All the dots would
connect and I would be left sitting in my seat, stunned, by what God had done
that day. My situation still hadn't
changed. But, God had answered my
prayers, and that was fine. That was
enough. And finally, I felt like I was
being heard again. Like He cared enough to listen and answer my
Until my situation
does change, my prayer will remain:
"Lord, move," but so long as He continues to "move
me," I will keep plugging away. I
will continue telling myself the truth about all the ways the Lord has provided
for me. I will keep reminding myself that whether or not I feel like I am "enough" (good enough, pretty
enough, lovely enough) has nothing to do with the fact that my God is enough
and that He will do what He says He will do, and that it will, eventually, work
out for my good. And I will keep
reminding myself that "Enough truly is as good as a feast."