(Genesis 16:13 (NIV) 13 She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
This precious old dog is stretching his body nervously toward me…staring hard at Manna (that’s me). I can see my reflection right there in his beautiful aging eyes. (You should be able to see the red jacket if not the fact that I am snapping his photo.) He is very unsure whether to trust me…this Manna person. I wish I had been able to assure him he could completely relax…that I am trustworthy!
Manna…a beloved name that my oldest granddaughter bestowed on me because she couldn’t pronounce grandmamma yet. Her sister followed suit and, as time went on, so did their friends. I was delighted. To me it was a sweet biblical name.
One day…someone turned up his nose and teased me about how manna really means, “What IS it?”
Until then, I had thought of manna as a blessing…provision…a sign of God’s love and protection.
I began to think about the other side of manna. To the Israelites it represented sameness. It was boring…something they complained about because it never changed. They tired of it…didn’t appreciate it. It was obvious they didn’t consider it to be God’s best provision. They thought they deserved better, something more. “What is it and whatever it is, let’s replace it!”
Sometimes I see “the look” come across someone’s face as I talk about faith…again. You know the look. The one that should be accompanied by a yawn. It could also be that tentative, untrusting look. It hurts my feelings a little but mostly it makes me sad for the listener who isn’t truly hearing and can’t really trust.
So much healing…so much love and joy and peace to be had…so much simplicity is offered into our lives by God. We all experience times when our faith is weak. During prolonged painful times, maybe we have been tempted to yawn (or scream) when someone reminds us (yet again) of God’s faithfulness. Hopefully there comes a time when we begin hearing…applying…believing.
When we finally see His provision for what it really is…we begin to see the painful times for what they are, rather than as the terrible “end” they seem to be. We experience His rest. We come to grips with His view of reality more quickly…less time is spent in desperate God questions or accusations.
We come to know for certain that God is the same, yesterday today and forever. We understand He hasn’t thrown us a random, or mean-spirited curve. We know, without a doubt, He has a plan. Despite the fact that something which cannot be explained has ripped our world…we can work it through with God, by faith. We hold a deep assurance that this…even this…will be for our good and His glory.
At some point we recognize His purposes are being worked out in the hearts of those living life out with us…even while they are giving us “the look”.
We finally understand He IS the same…yesterday, today and forever. We know that doesn’t mean He is outdated, inconsequential or not to be trusted.
It is now clear we can always…always count on Him. We can trust the manna.
Even when we are experiencing the unthinkable, we can say with Hagar… “You are the God who sees me. I have now seen the One who sees me.”