It had to be done.
Their rooms had to be cleaned. There was no way around it.
The night before, in the dark, I had tripped on toys scattered on the floor trying to get to one bed and stepped on several itty bitty ever so painful toys on the way to another.
Today, they had to clean their rooms.
But today also happened to be the possibly-last-warmest day of the summer.
And while we were cleaning, I felt guilty.
The guilt and pressure of making the most of the summer. Doing all the things, seizing the day.
We were not outside seizing, we were inside cleaning.
And one day I might write a post about embracing the fun and putting aside the work. But this is not that post.
After awhile of feeling guilty, I started to wonder if these guilty, panicked voices sounded an awful lot like the voices of the Israelites who gathered "double" manna in the desert. Those ever-so-human ancient people gathering extra food out of fear and self-preservation. Those that were trying to hold on to the goodness afraid that there were limits to God’s goodness or that His help might run out. Afraid that God might forget about His people. When you live under Pharaoh, it's hard to believe a King could be good.
If you live where I live, the summer is precious and we have had very few real summer days of sun and warmth this year. And, now, the Fall is coming. We can all feel it - the crisp mornings and cool evenings, the darker nights and the morning light changing.
Winter is coming and we are unable to stop it.
And so we grasp and hold on to the last few days of summer, grumbling about what is to come.
There is fear and dread of the dark days, the cabin fever, or the struggle with low mood or SADs. There is fear of the loss of mobility, nervous driving on ice and snow, the dread of being home bound and stuck inside with little children and the dreaded donning of the snowsuits. It’s real.
Winter is hard.
And being in the wilderness and desert was hard too.
The Israelites had no idea how they were going to survive out here. They had lived in Egypt, the epitome of civilization. Yes, they were slaves in that civilization (and all too often they seem to overlook that) but out here they needed to survive. How would they survive under such harsh conditions? Places where water and food were scarce and the sun scorched and the wind whipped?
Exodus 16, God says to Moses:
“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them,‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’” (Exodus 16:12)
When speaking to the people Moses and Aaron say: “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him.” (Exodus 16:6)
God heard their grumbling and sent them enough. For those that gathered much it was not too much and for those that gathered little, it was not too little. Everyone had what they needed in the desert and this provision was the glory of the Lord.
God’s glory - his magnificence and great beauty - is expressed not in pomp and circumstance but in mysterious bread from heaven and flocks of quail for His children. His glory is displayed in His provision for His people.
And the fullness of His magnificence, beauty, and honour were displayed when he sent Jesus, THE Bread of Heaven, to satisfy all the needs of His people.
I want to say this to you - my friend who is wondering how they will survive the cost of winter or the onslaught of the fall schedule - there will be enough for the journey ahead. There will be enough for that difficult thing on your horizon, for the darkness of the winter, for a journey through the wilderness, for the change that is ahead.
There will be enough.
You are in the care of the Great Manna Giver and He is glorious in His provision for those He loves.
Maybe I am writing this just for myself.
I need to hear this - I fear the end of winter burnout. I am grasping at the end of summer and trying to trust that there will be enough.
But I have an inkling that you might need to hear this too.
You do not need to grasp and hold to the end of summer as if there was no hope. There will be quiet waters and green pastures - even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. There will be enough in winter because there was enough in the wilderness.
The Israelites did not even have to do anything. The quail and the manna appeared through no effort on their part. All they had to do was receive and gather.
God’s glory IS revealed in His provision for His people. Our reminder that we are His people is that He provides what we need. Whether in the Sinai dessert, the Kerrith ravine, the barren womb of Hannah, the empty hands of Naomi and Ruth, or the winter of 2019.
We can trust the Bread of Heaven to satisfy our needs, no matter how small or outrageous they might feel. But the testimony of God - not just a promise, though He is faithful to keep those too - the recorded testimony over thousands of years is that He will provide.
Each day there will be manna and you will be just as surprised as they were, uttering “What is this?” It will be unexpected, it might be foreign, it might come embodied with flesh and bones, it might be miraculous but it will most definitely be unpredictable. God will take care of you. God will provide for the things he has asked you to do.
There will be enough for the winter.
May you be able to enjoy the beauty of fall without the fear of the winter. May you laugh without fear of the future for your God is the Great Manna giver.
P.S. I would love to hear your stories of God's provision in your life.