Awed For Today

And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. 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.” (Exodus 16:14-15, ESV)

Golf is fascinating, or outright maddening, because no two rounds are exactly alike. Even if a player produces two consecutive 72s, the sequence of strokes undoubtedly had more differences than similarities. I have shot 69 by hitting most of the greens in regulation, and I have chipped and putted my way to 69 when my driver and irons stank. It’s the unexpected in golf that catches our wonder and delight. The morning dew is always waiting for our return.

No two days in life are exactly the same either, but we do often get stuck in patterns of familiarity and conformity. Before the global impact of COVID, most of us woke up every morning with habitual expectations for our days. A variety of food at our fingertips, work and/or recreational activities in abundance, and comfortable shelter—all waiting for us. Do we fall into these habitual ruts because we forget to live with wonder and awe?

When I stop and consider the story of how the Israelites lived in a hostile wilderness for 40 years, I don’t blame them for complaining at all. I would have been in the thick of the campaign to return to the fertile land of Goshen. Back to familiar expectations.

And yet, our wild and faithful God answered the Israelites’ cry for help in such a way that caused them to ask, “What is it?” Manna. God provided just enough coriander seed-like wafer with a taste of honey for each person for one day. What is it?appeared fresh in the dew of the morning as a gift of God’s love and grace. He provided for his people in an unfamiliar and unexpected way that left them in wonder and awe.

What can we learn from our ancestors in the faith? If your current circumstances and daily experiences don’t feel like a wilderness right now, might you consider if your expectations for the familiar are hindering you from living with wonder and childlike awe? Where are you surprised by God’s love and overwhelmed by his grace?

If you are experiencing the heat of the wilderness, whether due to COVID or another ongoing hardship, I hope you will stand on the shoulders of the Israelites and be encouraged that God is with you in the wilderness. Be encouraged to keep your heart open to the manna of God’s word, to the manna of his grace, and to the manna of his love. Fight and remain steadfast with wonder and awe, ready to receive from the one who sees you and loves you deeply.

Tracy Hanson
July 16, 2020
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