Thursday, April 25, 2013

What Would Bread Raining from Heaven Look like in the 21st Century?

   Yesterday while one of the interns here at We Will Go ministries was reading Exodus 16, she asked God what bread raining from heaven would look like now.
   That's when her phone rang. It was an associate pastor from a big church a city over. He was calling to ask if we wanted any chicken? Because he had been at a lunch board meeting and they had fifty pieces of fried chicken leftover plus cases of coleslaw, potato salad, marshmallow fruit salad, pork 'n' beans, and garlic bread. Ashley, our intern, said come on.
   A few hours later while he was unloading the fifty pieces of fried chicken and sides, Ashley shared my family's story with him. She told him about how there are nine of us and I'm graduating from high school in two days and my younger brother David has his 16th birthday party this Saturday and this food will really bless them because they only have a little over a hundred dollars to stretch and pull for the rest of the month.
   The associate pastor listened quietly while Ashley spoke, and when she finished, he said, "I found this on a drain pipe this morning," and pulled out a hundred dollar bill from his wallet and handed it to her. "Give this to that family."
   That's what bread raining down from heaven looks like in the 21st century. It looks like the daughters and sons of God living like princesses and princes in inner-city Jackson, Mississippi. We bought decorations for David's party, supplies for my graduation display, and groceries with that manna and feasted on fried chicken, garlic bread, salad, coleslaw, marshmallow fruit salad, pork 'n' beans, and potato salad that night with a visiting ten-member missionary family.

   "In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp.  And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, 'What is it?' For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, 'It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: "Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.'"  And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. 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." -Exodus 16:13-18

   When it was written that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, they were writing truth. He overcame death and the God of daily provision and meat for dinner and bread for breakfast lives today. Sometimes we make Him so super-spiritual; and He is super spiritual, but He is also extremely practical. In the same moment of time, He was sitting on His heavenly throne, robed in glory, while an army of angels bowed before and walking through a field on Sabbath with his homeless friends, dressed in dusty rags, breaking off heads of wheat because they're absolutely famished. Why don't we let Him be both? Because He is both people: a mighty king, and a carpenter working to provide food for his mother and brothers and sisters. 
   I've just never ate the quail and manna before because I never allowed Him to be the God who provided my daily bread for me before. He has always been that God and will always be that God, I've just not always been on this level with Him. After all, He is a lover, not a rapist. He will never force Himself or His gifts on you. He is a gentleman and will wait on you forever. The manna and quail will never be given until we extend our empty plates and empty hands and say, "Please, Sir, can I have some more?" And He will give more every single time. He will give immeasurably more than all we could ever ask for or imagine.

Friday, January 4, 2013

God in 2012

    As we ushered out the last moments of 2012 with choruses of Auld Lang Syne sung under showers of glitter and confetti and good cheer, I found myself sitting quietly and remembering. Remembering the valleys and mountains of the past year, the highlights and greatest hits of the last twelve months. Holding my college acceptance letter and then soon after my first--and hopefully not last--first scholarship award letter. Leading worship for my church's youth group in the first three seasons of the year, and then for a children's ministry in the ghetto in the last season. The Hunger Games premiered in March--that was a big deal right there. Sitting in my room in my childhood home, packing up the past seventeen years into labeled cardboard boxes and then unpacking them the next week in my new room in my family's new house in inner-city Jackson. Then there were the less significant moments, like upgrading from reading glasses to "driving" glasses, donating blood for the first time, and getting a new job at a frozen yogurt shop. That was 2012 for me. Overall, it was a good year.
    Not every year has been that good, though. And maybe that's how 2012 year was for you: not good. Maybe as you look back through the months, you see more valleys than mountains. Maybe you see more moments you spent surrounded by your blankets and cats and Criminal Minds marathons than moments you spent surrounded by family who values you and friends who love you. Maybe you bombed your finals. Maybe you left home and don't know how to go back. Maybe you're not friends with any of the same people you started the year with. Maybe it's your fault, maybe it's not. Maybe maybe maybe.
    As we stood together on that New Years Eve night, though, and surveyed 2012 before we welcomed 2013, we couldn't help but see one constant in each of our separate lives. God was good. God is good. Maybe this year wasn't, but the Lord and His character are not influenced by circumstance. He is good all the time and all the time He is good and He was good in 2012. He was good. Like the Matt Redman song says, He was good because never once did He ever leave us, never once did we ever walk alone. He was with us. He was faithful and He will continue to be so. I know that the Lord began works in my life this year that He will bring to completion and I know that the Lord began works in your life this year that He has promised to bring to completion. It may not be in 2013, or even 2014 (if the world can survive the next apocalypse and we live that long), but He will see it to the end and I am so excited to see what goodness He will pour out again this year.
    The year is only four days old, but I know He has already begun to.