Manna and quail!
by Katie Borden
Y’all, I remember sitting in the Sunday School rooms (that’s what we called them back then) in the basement of Lytham Road about 3 decades ago learning about the amazing story of God’s miracle in the desert for the Israelites.
To little grade-school me, these sounded so exotic. Then when I started adulting, I realized why the Israelites probably “grumbled” so much—they ate wafers and bird meat for 40 years.
And yet, as inglorious as that may sound, God sustained his people faithfully for nearly 15,000 days in this way. His faithfulness to nourish us, even when we are not faithful or obedient back, is itself another miraculous revelation of the character of God.
But God didn’t stop sustaining people back in the Old Testament. God sustains and empowers his people today with his Holy Spirit, and he gifts us with the church—each other—to bless us.
As we are knit together in community, God sustains us with each other and nourishes our souls along with our bodies through our relationships.
It may look rather unremarkable at first glance. Here are a few examples:
I have been blessed to both give and receive food in times of illness and crisis. Some of you have carried my heavy appliances for me when I’ve moved. I’ve walked boxes up and down stairs from friends’ walk-up apartments. One year, my small group showed up to move my own sister and her husband back to Columbus on December 23rd. I’ve had late-night conversations over ice cream with dear friends in our community with whom I have felt safest to ask my deepest questions of doubt or fear—and the reassuring companionship in the journey of faith has ministered to my soul.
We may not think of any of these rather mundane actions in life as “miraculous” by our human standards. But when God gifts you with decades of miraculous faithfulness through “unremarkable” means like wafers and bird meat from heaven and homemade soup from a dear friend on a day you’re just too ill to cook for yourself, we certainly recognize those as straight from the hand of God. And as God continues to build us up as the church, belonging both to him and to each other, these blessings will continue to flow like life-giving streams in the desert. Miraculous, indeed.
Consider taking time today to reflect on ways that God has provided for and sustained you. Even in seasons when God may feel absent, consider reflecting on ways that the community of faith has sustained you--then thank God for those occasions. Consider also asking God to strengthen your relationships within the faith community, for the good of his beloved, and to his glory.