It takes time for your brain to realize that you’ve eaten. It’s in this time that I start this new year. I’m hobbled, dirty, and exhausted from previous years, but I’ve eaten the manna. He had to prepare it, place it, and make me stoop, but I’m no longer hungry. I’m digesting. What now? Actually, I’ve read somewhere that our best digestion happens when we rest. I’m resting. He’s with me.
I’m not mad about the hobbling. I’m sore, but it’s a “good sore” if you know what I mean.
Have you eaten?
I wrote those words during the sunrise of 2014 in my very first blog post “Sore from the Hobbling”.
Now – in the night of this year – I’m still in the desert.
However, I have a blanket of hope because I remember.
It’s been a year of more and less; steady and wild.
I’ve digested, rested, and paid attention.
I’ve discovered that the stooping low won’t kill me. I’ve bent, survived, and am braver for it.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
But the desert stretches out and I have far to go.
The rough sand, dry air, and never-changing horizon wear on me. Many nights I kick off my blanket and toss and turn: my body’s silent grumbling.
On their desert journey, Israelites groaned about what they had not yet surrendered to God: comfort, control, their identity…
But to their defense, they didn’t know Him well.
God responded by revealing more of Himself. He became a cloud to subdue the desert heat and guide them. He became a pillar of fire to brighten the night sky and lead the way.
He became bread; willing to nourish the empty people who grumbled against Him.
I grumble because the hunger returns.
I’ve gotten enough for each day, but I didn’t anticipate hunger’s recurrence or it’s fierce increase. I expected to have a stockpile that I could see, measure, and trust by now. But He forbids storing and allows the night to hollow me. So by sunrise, I’m clutching my empty jar; my soul rumbling and desperate for Him.
He’s become what requires me to stay close and dependent on Him.
Without fail, Jesus comes. Sometimes my desires for more or less keep me away, but He’s always waiting and exactly what I need. My faithfulness and loyalty shift like grains of sand, but the Bread of Life – like my emptiness – is reliable.
Because of the hunger, He’s shown Himself as a Steady Presence that never fails and wants me near.
I toss and turn because the struggle remains.
I expected it to get easier, but I’m still hobbling and sore. Naively, I thought I’d reached my struggle quota and be smooth sailing in a milder climate by now. He allows the bumps in the road to knock me off my heart’s throne so I can know the goodness of Him sitting there.
He’s become what keeps me moving toward a new land and a better me.
The cold desert nights stiffen my muscles. The Dayspring wakes me and scatters Himself low and wildly to the right and left; forcing me to bend and stretch. It seems this daily exercise is just as important as my diet, though awkward, unpredictable, and unsettling.
Because of the struggle, I know Him as Breakfast Bread that can’t be contained and makes me new.
The God of the Israelites heard their grumblings and became what was necessary for them to know Him in the desert.
The God of my soul hears my silent grumblings and becomes my perfect portion, day in and day out.
The God of all creation heard the cries of the universe and responded by becoming the incomprehensible; stooping from Glory to make Himself known through a Relentless Pursuit and an outrageous Rescue Plan.
As the sun sets on this year, I’m humbled by His desire for me to know Him -and by what I know of Him.
Tonight, I’ll watch and rest for I’ve seen the goodness of a love that’s steady.
I’ll wrap my hope-blanket tight around me for I’ve tasted the maelstrom of a love that’s wild.
And I’ll live.
What has He become for you this year?
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Jars: Rula Sibai
Footprints: Chris Sardegna