“And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, the said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.'” Exodus 16:13-15
Did you know that the actual translation of the word manna is “what is it?” After escaping from slavery the Israelites needed food, which God provided. However, they weren’t too excited with what they got. They longed for the familiar food of Egypt —
“Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Numbers 11:4-6
Aren’t we often the same? God was not only providing for his children, He was teaching them to depend upon Him in a new and challenging situation. Often when this happens in our own lives, we also long for the way things used to be, even if they weren’t so great. Instead of being thankful for what we have and moving forward into the future God planned for us, we whine and try to backtrack. I did this after I retired. I didn’t really intend to retire at 62, but my work environment became increasingly stressful. My husband encouraged me to go ahead and leave; we would manage. So I did and then set about finding another job! After many applications and interviews, I got the job of my dreams — working in a library, Guess what, almost right away I sensed this wasn’t what God had in mind for the rest of my life. He wanted me to go off in a new direction, not be satisfied with a different version of the old.
So here I am, a blogger. Who could have imagined it! Like the Israelites, I could say, “What is this?” Really, God? This is so completely different from anything I ever tried before. Yet it fills and nourishes me, day after day. God knows best — we just have to try the food He’s given us, even when we’re not sure what it is.