Manna — the missing “M”

I think manna is my missing “m”  in mtothe5th,  its the sixth “m”, if you will.  But it definitely belongs there, a symbol of God’s mercy, one of His miracles provided daily for the Israelites as they wandered in the desert.  Maybe the Israelites considered the manna too mundane to be a miracle. ( a mundane miracle would certainly be a contradiction in terms, can a miracle even be mundane? something predictable, something ordinary?) After all, it wasn’t cheesecake, or philly steak, or dark chocolate.  And it was a daily occurrence, (except for the Sabbath) so maybe they ceased to see the manna as the miracle that it was.

The manna represented God’s care and provision for the Israelites, it was His mercy towards them, demonstrated new every morning.  It was literally their daily bread.  This miracle of the manna reminds me of what it says in Lamentations 3:22-23  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”   The manna was new every morning while they were in the desert, they could count on its appearance without fail, because the God who provided it is faithful.

So why didn’t the Israelites recognize the manna for the miracle it was?  A gift from God every morning to sustain them, they did nothing to contribute to its appearing every day, they didn’t plant it or grow it, they simply had to gather it every morning after it fell from heaven.  All they had to do was to receive it, preferably with a grateful heart.  But they were grumbling rather than grateful.  They didn’t earn it or deserve it, yet still it was there day after day, evidence of God’s faithfulness to them even in the midst of their unfaithfulness.

Granted, forty years is a long time to be living on manna, but it beats the alternative. They were in the desert forty years because of their rebellion to begin with, yet the manna was the miracle of God’s mercy manifested new every day,  day after day. Do I miss God’s miracles in my life because I’m looking for something “other” than what He’s graciously giving me each day?  Do I consider what He bestows too mundane to be a miracle?

Jesus taught His disciples to pray “give us this day our daily bread”.  He also told them
“I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry ,” .  At the last supper Jesus broke bread and gave it to them saying, “this is my body given for you;”.  Jesus was in the miracle of the manna as surely as He is the bread of life, our daily bread and our once for all time sacrifice broken on the cross.  The Israelites  were awaiting their Deliverer, their promised Messiah; they just didn’t recognize His presence in the daily delivery from heaven of the mysterious manna, which sustained them until they reached the promised land.

The manna became common place to them,  always the same, predictable, like the rising of the sun or the spinning of the earth through space.  I don’t want to take my every day miracles for granted.  The miracle of another day, of forgiven sin, of a relationship with my Creator that I did nothing to earn.  The miracle of mercy experienced new every day.  The miracle of second chances and reconciliation. (even the miracle of a parking space and well behaved students ).  Every new day is a miracle in itself and Jesus is our daily bread, our manna, our miracle from heaven to sustain us for another day.  We just have to receive Him.

Lord, even though I’m walking by faith, help me to walk with my eyes open to the manna of Your daily miracles and to gather them in, give You thanks for them and to remember them.  Your miracles may be in one time dramatic events like the parting of the Red Sea but they are more often in the repetitive, ordinary events of our daily lives, hidden amidst the mundane, there for us to recognize and rejoice over.  May I be found grateful, not grumbling.

sincerely,                   Grace Day





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