Thursday, September 21, 2017

Exodus: God will give you what you need

Wouldn’t it be great if God gave us what we needed? "God my air conditioning broke and I have no money... will you fix it?" God’s reply, “I will rain down an air conditioner from heaven.” Yet that is not how God operates. Trials and temptations are moments in the wilderness. The Israelite people probably wished that God would deliver them straight into the promise land. But instead, God was sending through the wilderness. 

It is in times of high stress, tension, anxiety that we become vulnerable. We seek easy answers to difficult questions. We seek the so-called comforts of our own Egypt. 

The wilderness is a hard place. It's a place of great temptation. In the wilderness, we can suffer from physical and spiritual fatigue. We become irritable and moody. And we begin to understand and feel at home with the complaints of the Israelite people in Exodus 16. 

They are hungry and parched. They are longing to go back. Egypt was security for them. They would take any comfort. Even if it was slavery. 

It seems odd that they ask to go back to Egypt and not for God to feed and nourish them… Many times we pray for God to meet our needs... what we mean is for God to bring us to a place of comfort. A place where we no longer need God. A place like Egypt. 

God hears their complaints but doesn't avail them of such a solution. God doesn't free them from the wilderness. They will have to journey through the wilderness. But God does provide meat and manna (bread). And Moses called the people to, "Draw near to God." The manna was a means by which they/we might draw near to God. A means by which we can come to know God in a deeper way in moments of high anxiety and stress. 

There are many moments this past week that I have said, "Lord, have mercy." We have seen hurricanes destroy the lives of many. They are having to find their way in the wilderness. Earthquakes have taken thousands of children's lives away from families. Looming threats of war. And of course, the tension that resides in our church between parishioners. It just takes your breath away, doesn't it?

We sit in this tension. If you are like me I just want to look away. We sit in this wilderness hungry for God. Praying for relief. And God is always faithful. Goodwill always triumphs. God will always give us what we need. That is what God does. May we be filled with manna from heaven. And may we also continue and strive to serve and love each other well.