Don’t the Israelites continually provide a vivid picture of human nature? They’re in the wilderness. In spite of their grumbling and doubting, the Lord provides manna for them for each day. There is always enough—they should learn to rely on its consistency. Each morning, when they wake and step from their tents into the light of a new day, a thick coating of the Lord’s grace and care waits for them to gather—manna for another day. But still they try to make a storehouse of the manna, gathering extra, “just in case,” they might say. Let’s save up a little extra…just in case God doesn’t come through like He always does?
Of course we know from the story that their attempt to keep extra manna doesn’t work, and it spoils over night. They once again must walk into the Lord’s new day with new provision—always enough but never early.
It would seem it’s a universal part of human nature to want some control over our lives. Isn’t that part of the reason behind the Israelites’ desire to hoard God’s provided manna?—Just have a little set back, so we have a back-up plan, so we don’t feel helpless, so we don’t have to enter each day supported only by faith that God will provide. We don’t like to be utterly dependent on Him. Dependence is a word and a feeling that easily frightens us. It strips us down so that faith in God’s continued provision and sustenance is what holds us up.
I find it easy to become stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious about the future. It's different for each of us, perhaps a job, a chronic illness, family tensions, or simply the daily monotony of diapers and feedings—but we look over the time span from here to the “there” when it will end and think, “how will I make it?” Where will the patience and the grace, the creativity and energy, the strength and steadfast fortitude come from? We want the sensation of extra reserves today, so that we may feel less anxious about tomorrow or next week. If we feel we have a little left, a little stored up, then we can rest easy that there will be enough to make it.
Isn’t this an intangible mimicry of what the Israelites did? We want to “hoard” God’s provision of strength and grace to live faithfully each day. We want the assurance of our own sense of control or self-sufficiency. We don’t want to feel the stretching, free-falling sensation of daily dependence. But this is what He invites us into.
God does not promise us a week’s worth of strength all at once, but He does give us the grace we need to live moment by moment, each day. Regardless of our feelings, we can step out each day with faith in God our provider. This is an in-motion faith. We must start to take the next step, even if we don't yet have visual or emotional confirmation that He’s provided. We must trust that He gives us what we need while we’re on the way.
He has promised to be faithful. Our “job” is to trust Him in daily dependence.