Jon cracked pistachio nuts and sucked on sour keys while I begged for ice chips in that grim ICU room. With a tracheotomy stuck in my neck, I couldn’t eat or drink and I was desperate for cool water on my tongue. I snuck sips of water, teased my thirst like a few cruel drops of rain in a long drought, held it greedily on my tongue and spewed it out before it slid down the wrong pipe. Drinking water had become dangerous.
I couldn’t smell the food that I couldn’t eat, but I imagined how it would make my taste buds dance. In my mind I savoured delicious spreads, but I wondered if I would ever eat again.
Weeks passed and the stash of pistachios dwindled and the last of the sour keys got stuck in my children’s teeth. When finally a nurse yanked that feed tube out of my stomach, the stress of the calorie count and a sluggish digestive system made eating difficult. Eating became an onerous task.
I started craving the craziest things. In the middle of the night I was no longer calling out for ice chips, but pleading for a cold can of Coke. I don’t even like Coke!
Our minds can easily fixate on things we cannot or should not have.
When we don’t get what we think we need or want we grumble.
After the Lord led the Israelites across the Red Sea on dry ground they came to the wilderness and they couldn’t find any water. When they came to Marah, they found water, but it was bitter. The Lord then caused the bitter water to become sweet. Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and they camped there for a while.
In the second month after leaving Egypt, the people of Israel set out from Elim and settled in the Wilderness of Sin. This was a vast wilderness and the barrenness of their surroundings increased their grumblings.
You get comfortable in sin and you will never be satisfied. You will fixate on what you don’t have, can’t have, shouldn’t have and grumbling will increase.
The gathering of people in the wilderness grumbled against the Lord, and in His mercy, He heard them and promised to send them bread from heaven.
They had been dreaming of meat pots and all the bread they could eat back in Egypt, but God had something better for them.
They had settled so comfortable in the sin of ingratitude, all they could think of was perishing in the wilderness when God was offering life from heaven.
“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.’”
Grumbling focuses on that which we don’t have and blinds us to the goodness of God. When we spend our days grumbling, we miss out on seeing the gifts God graciously bestows.
The people of Israel called this bread from heaven, this grace that fell like rain: ‘manna’. For forty years they gathered what they didn’t understand and ate this gift from heaven. God faithfully provided for them and they acknowledged it was a gift, but they didn’t fully grasp what He had given them.
God intends for our hearts to be fully satisfied in Him. God has purposed that we trust that He will satisfy our need completely in Himself.
We were never meant to be satisfied with mere bread or meat. Nothing in this world will ever satisfy. We keep snacking on pistachios and dreaming of rich banquets at which to feast and we yearn for something, anything to gratify our emptiness.
God always acts to glorify himself. So He brings us to these barren places where our soul hungers and thirsts for Him.
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
He opens the eyes of our hearts to see that the Bread of Heaven, the Son of God, Jesus Christ has come and those who believe in Him will receive eternal life and taste of the goodness of God. The gifts He bestows are meant to turn our hearts to the Giver.
He continually and graciously gives us all things, not merely to satisfy us with these things, but to demonstrate to us that He is good and only in Him will our hearts truly find rest.
So even when we can’t understand why He will bring certain things into our lives, we will know that it is ultimately for our good and for His glory.
Go on, see the gifts he graciously rains from heaven, gather them, give thanks for them, but don’t be satisfied with anything but the Giver Himself.