Another Saturday morning is underway as the redhead joined by Asher, her black snaggle-toothed cat, begins their weekly task of quieting the wild brown and white hamsters tirelessly running on silver wheels in the writer’s attention deficit mind. The blonde-haired daughter of the hamster tamer tells her mother she MUST write about their families annual back to school tradition. Each year on the first and last day of school, the B-Gang gather around their turquoise colored kitchen table for the beloved Feast of the Toaster Strudels to eat their fave flave of strudels, talk, laugh and have a photo op.
The quirky tradition is in its thirty-first and final year in its founding household, but it continues to live on in the hearts and homes of our children who have school aged children of their own. It’s hard to imagine many things tasting better than a warm strawberry strudel when the sweet white icing starts to melt. We could eat those breakfast delicacies every day of our lives.
The Children of Israel once ate manna, the food of angels, every day for forty years. Small, sweet bread-like food fell daily from the skies like snow onto the ground for the people to gather and eat. Imagine you open your front door and pick up your food for the day. No going through the getting ready to go out in public rituals. No circling the asphalt parking lot to find a tiny undersized parking space to squeeze your normal sized vehicle into. No rushing into the store hunting for the place they’ve hidden your grocery items this week while trying to avoid every chatty Kathy in the universe. No fighting with the worlds junkiest shopping cart to load and unload your items in and out of, just to fork over your hard-earned cash. Next you have the honor of pushing your heavy cart of groceries outside, often in extreme weather, to your car to begin the load and unload your groceries for what isn’t even the final time.
Eating food is a basic need of survival, but we need more than physical food if we are going to live the abundant life Jesus called us to live. Sometimes we dash into the wilderness of our own self-reliant making. As we advance in our quests to accumulate and achieve, we have what we need and most of what we want but we become negligent of our Lord. Intentional times of prayer and reading God’s Word taper off until they no longer happen at all. Our words of praise and thanksgiving to Jesus morph into words of self-praise or twist into manipulation as we praise others with hidden agendas. Eventually we begin to forsake the assembling of ourselves with the people of God and we live our lives as if the Lord never existed at all.
THEY SOON FORGOT HIS WORKS; THEY DID NOT WAIT FOR HIS COUNSEL, BUT LUSTED EXCEEDINGLY IN THE WILDERNESS AND TESTED GOD IN THE DESERT. AND HE GAVE THEM THEIR REQUEST BUT SENT LEANNESS INTO THEIR SOULS! Psalm 106:13-15
Yes, the Lord gave them what they wanted but the Lord also sent leanness into their souls. It doesn’t matter if we have all the material things, all the titles, all the power, all the fame, or all the popularity if God has sent leanness into our souls. Everything minus Jesus will never be enough. The more we ignore the Holy Spirit’s voice, the more we will neglect to spend time talking to Jesus and reading His Word.
When we thoughtlessly treat our relationship with God with indifference, we eventually take up residence in our self-made wilderness lacking even the necessities. It’s in this scorching space we find ourselves with the wrong people doing the wrong things or simply sitting on the desert sands blind to our sun blistered skin because we are numbed by comfortable complacency.
YES, HE HUMBLED YOU BY LETTING YOU GO HUNGRY AND FEEDING YOU WITH MANNA, A FOOD PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN TO YOU AND YOUR ANCESTORS. HE DID IT TO TEACH YOU THAT PEOPLE DO NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE; RATHER, WE LIVE BY EVERY WORD THAT COMES FROM THE MOUTH OF THE LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3
Thank God that Jesus comes to us when we finally come to ourselves in our self-made desert wildernesses. Jesus is the bread of life. He will provide for us the true substance we need to survive, not only physically but spiritually as well. If you find yourself on the wilderness edge or in the middle of the scorching desert, stop, take time to taste and see the Lord is good. Begin again to draw near Jesus because He promises to then draw near to you. As Jesus becomes nearer, the leanness of your soul will be replaced to overflowing with the presence of the Lord again.
This week’s redhead challenge is to take a break from the noise. Jesus is the Bread of Life. If you don’t know Jesus personally as your Savior, talk to Him. Tell Jesus you want Him to be your Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit will speak to you. If you do know our Lord as Savior, I challenge you to break out paper and pen. Ask God if there are areas in your life that you no longer seek His counsel or maybe you already know you no longer seek Jesus at all. Jot down anything the Lord brings to your mind this week as you prayerfully listen for the small still voice of God. Obey any directions the Lord gives you as you taste the sweet flavor of the Bread of Life this week.
Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.
Sarah Burnette 8-20-22