For the past few days, I’ve been caught up in trying to figure out how to make a 5-year-old’s birthday fun and exciting in the midst of a global crisis. I’ve worried over everything from shopping for gifts and food to finding the right decorations. Mostly I’ve been stuck on the assumption that my son would be disappointed that this birthday would be a lot different from year’s past.
As it turned out, it wasn’t his disappointment that I had to work through. Rather, I was the one struggling with the loss of normalcy, the uncertainty of provision, and the fear that what I could do for Sam on his birthday just wouldn’t be good enough. In hindsight, I think that the birthday party was never the real issue for me, but it did serve as a warning light to a deeper issue: trust.
When Sam was born, I spent several weeks in the hospital due to complications and then delivered at 32 weeks. It was a scary time. However, it was then that I began to pray The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) when I felt lonely or afraid, which ended up being many times a day. I’ve continued this practice ever since, and it has brought me a lot of comfort and peace over the years.
“Give us this day our daily bread,” has been ringing in my ears this week. I’ve thought about the daily bread that God provided to the Israelites in the desert after their escape from Egypt. Each morning, they woke up to fresh manna directly from Heaven to sustain their lives when everything around them was different and uncertain. Yet, over time, God’s chosen people grew tired of it, and wanted to go back to what they had before. They had convinced themselves that it was better to live as slaves than to be free, but totally reliant on God for their needs. Their issue? Trust.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to this story, but I can’t help but see something of myself in it. The Israelites missed the miracle of their daily bread. How often do I do the same thing? How often do I long for not just daily bread, but weekly, monthly, forever bread? Though God is capable of providing everything we could ever need all at once, I think he chooses to offer us daily bread as a way to deepen our relationship with him. In the waiting, he’s not withholding. He’s simply building our trust.
My trust doesn’t change our unchanging God, but instead, it changes me. It opens my eyes and heart to the manna miracles he has given in my own life. It also frees me to practice gratitude, which always turns that which seems inadequate into abundance.
In the end, Sam had a great birthday, and I learned a great lesson. Do you have a manna miracle before you? What are you grateful for today?