Grace Like Manna

I’ve been thinking a lot about grace recently. There are a lot of commands and reminders in scripture that we are to live for today. We should take heed – we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Do not worry about tomorrow. (Matt 6:34)
You do not know what tomorrow will bring. (James 4:14; Prov 27:1)
His mercies are new every morning. (Lam 3:22-23)
Our treasure is in heaven, not on this earth. (Luke 12:20-21)

Though I know we are refined by the fire for God’s glory (Isaiah 48:10-11), I still often wonder how some people walk through so much heartache and suffering and don’t just survive but are actually made stronger. I can’t help but think if it were me, I might just give up. The orphan living in poverty, the single mother with 5 kids, the husband who just lost his wife and only son in a car accident, the woman struggling with chronic daily pain. How do they do it? By God’s grace.

Yes, but what does that mean? Why does it seem that I would never be able to handle those things? I am often reminded that grace is given for today. God tells us tomorrow will have enough troubles and not to worry about that, but that he will give us the strength we need for today. The same is true for our friends going through trials. It is like the manna in the wilderness. God provided just enough for each day, and if the Israelites tried to store it up for later, it would rot.

But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted. Exodus 16:18-21

But I am also reminded that grace is particular. If you, like me, put yourself in the shoes of your neighbor or friend, you do wonder. You say, I could never handle that! How does she do it? His faith must be stronger than mine! But their faith is God-given, just like grace. We can learn much by watching our friends’ faith in action. We receive enough grace to help carry their burdens, to comfort, to encourage, to walk beside them. And they receive as much as they need, particular to their situation, to persevere through their greatest trials. And it doesn’t look the same. We do not receive their grace.

The Israelites, or their fathers, did not even know what manna was. As far as we know, God had never provided manna in that way before and he has not since. It was God’s particular grace for the trials he had them endure in the wilderness.

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3

So just as we only receive grace for today, we only receive grace for our specific trials. We trust that God will take care of all his children’s needs, even when we can’t comprehend how he is working, or how this could possibly work out for good, or how we would handle the same situation. We are commanded not to worry. He will supply. He will be faithful. He is enough. Both for today, and for all our tomorrows.

manna

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