Bread of Life

The free Israelite slaves were hungry. Really hungry. Like, let’s go back to slavery because at least we had food kind of hungry.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.–Exodus 16: 4

There’s that word again. Behold… look… watch… pay attention.

I imagine God might say it like this. “Watch. I’m about to provide bread for your hunger straight from heaven. Pay attention now, this is important. Gather enough for one day at a time. Don’t store it up in jars on your shelves or hoard it up in a grain bin. Each day when you get up, gather enough for the day. There will be plenty again tomorrow. Look, you can trust me on this. Do it my way.”

The next morning there it was, but they didn’t know what it was. So they called it manna, and each morning it was ready for gathering and grinding, and cooking. They learned to take what was needed for the day because the leftovers spoiled before their very eyes.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.–John 6:35

Jesus, the Bread of Life, is manna. He alone is able to quench my thirst and feed my hunger. Still, I’m prone to go looking for provisions in other places, and I’m especially good at storing it up.

Just last night the oldest son called from miles away and asked, “Should I be worried? The grocery stores are packed with people. Some things on the shelves are all gone. Have you ever seen it like this? Is there anything I should do that I haven’t thought about doing?”

My daughter called next. “Mom, the meeting today was pretty serious. We were told to wash our hands whenever possible to conserve things they know will be in short supply. They’re preparing for the worst, making sure we’re ready to provide care if we’re needed. I told them I was available to help if the time comes.”

I listened, reassured, reminded them of the God we serve, but when I hung up the phone, my unsettled mind began to reel. The mama in me wanted to call them right back and tell them to get home quick, to leave the cities they live in and let me shelter them. I considered my current household supplies and wondered if we have enough. I played the “what if…” game as I cooked dinner for the tractor driving boys.

In the midst of all my thinking I hear, “Behold. Pay attention. I am the Bread of Life.” It was a stop sign right there in the kitchen.

Stop the what-ifs because there is no way to prepare for the things of this world I cannot control.

Pay attention. No amount of stored up supplies will last forever, nor do I have the ability to shelter my loved ones from all the yuck going on around them.

Behold. Faith is not about taking care of myself, it is trusting Jesus, the Bread of Life, to provide for the daily nutrition of my mind, body, and soul. It is depending on Him to care for those I love. This isn’t easy for me because trusting doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything. But the truth is at this point there is not much I can do, and so I wait. I watch.

I pay attention to the One who knows exactly what to do and how to provide. I soak up the provision He gives for this day, and trust He’ll do it again tomorrow.

Lord, you know exactly what the world needs this very moment. So many of us are worried in the face of the unknown. Forgive us for any attempt we make to trust our own provision. Help us to be alert to your direction. Bring healing to those who are suffering from this illness. Comfort those who have lost loved ones. Show us how to trust and grow our faith. And Lord… if you’re willing… use us to love others like never before. Amen.

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