The Meal On Your Table

“You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.” (Nehemiah 9:20-22, ESV)

Feast or famine… a familiar phrase meaning either an overabundance or a shortage of something. In relation to golf, I am in a time of famine as two feet of snow sparkles outside my window. But for those of you in the southern states, you are feasting with golf day opportunities.

It’s safe to say that over the last 12 months, we have lived through the entire continuum from feast to famine and back again. Personally, when the national quarantine went into effect, my ministry work entered a famine. My face-to-face opportunities disappeared. I went from traveling almost weekly to stranded at home. I had to learn how to be home for more than three weeks, something I had not experienced in over three decades. I swung the pendulum between unsettled to contentment every day. My personal famine.

In the second half of the year, I experienced several mini feasts. In the late summer, I played more golf in a two-week period than I had all year. Several new ministry doors opened that required time in Zoom meetings and behind the microphone as a new podcast co-host with Power Up Sports Ministry. In addition, I took two online sports ministry classes through the Faith and Sports Institute during eight weeks of the fall.

Feast or famine.

Have you ever felt this way spiritually? An overabundance of God’s presence showing up in a multitude of ways: relationships, work, understanding, and maybe even a few extra good golf shots. Or maybe a shortage or absence of his presence that overwhelms you with a wavering faith in the face of hardship, failure, and loss.

During the 40 years when the Israelites wondered through the wilderness, they had cycles of feast and famine. They saw God’s provision in their escape from Egypt; and they felt the pang of hunger and thirst. But as Nehemiah eloquently reminded his generation, God always gives his good Spirit to instruct his people. He provided what they needed for food and drink—just enough for the day at hand. During those 40 years, they lacked nothing, even in dire circumstances. Their bodies had clothing and their feet held up.

Israel as a nation survived the wilderness by the daily provision of God’s grace. As God’s people today, we might say we are in a wilderness of our own unique obstacles: a pandemic, ice storms, loss of resources, financial struggles. Let us be encouraged by the prophet’s words and “treat each day’s life and food as a gift” (The Bible Project). Don’t take today’s manna for granted. We can choose to find God’s presence in the space that exists between feast or famine.

Tracy Hanson
February 25, 2021
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