When the people of Israel saw it, they 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.
Sometimes God provides for us, but we don’t recognize it. He gives us bread that we don’t want to eat, but it is for our good. There are forms of this in our lives today that it has taken me years to identify and appreciate. Here are a few…
- Suffering. Paul makes it clear in Philippians 1:29 that he views God’s two great provisions as 1) faith and 2) suffering. They have been granted to us “for the sake of Christ.” Strangely, much of modern Christian life seems designed to reject suffering as a provision and to see it, rather, as a curse. The curse-view of suffering turns out to spoil the gift of faith as well through making spiritual life a pursuit of personal comfort instead of a pursuit of spiritual maturity.
- Weakness. The famous verse, 2 Corinthians 12:9, puts it plainly, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Weakness is something we are to boast in! In Christ, it is a source of strength because it is an immediate motivation for relying on God. If we depend on God and His grace rather than anything in ourselves, we are indeed strong!
- Exposure. Paul, in 1 Timothy 1:16, writes about receiving “mercy” from God in the fact that everyone could see his foibles and fallenness. He was made an example of in order to display God’s perfect patience. My instinct is to cover up, but the only “cover up” Scripture endorses is that provided by love (1 Peter 4:8). Even here, however, the implication is that a multitude of sins are out in the open and known. They are confessed, not concealed.
Lord, help me recognize the surprising ways You supply me with food to eat and directions to take. Suffering, weakness, and exposure would never be things I would choose, but if choosing You means that I must receive these “gifts” in order to receive the outcomes they ensure in terms of faith and maturity, then I pray that You would “bring it on.” Thy will be done in my life. Thy glory be praised. Amen.