I have the funniest greeting card with a Manna Cabana cartoon on the front. The daily specials are listed as 1) Manna, 2) Manna, 3) Manna and 4) Manna. Take your pick from today’s options. Manna it is!
Though I laugh every time I come across that picture when digging through my card selection, it’s not at all difficult to empathize with our ancient desert forefolks, the Israelites. While it was intriguing at first, after enough manna to bloat a beached whale, they were getting pretty tired of it. Generations later, we get sick of it in short order, too.
When life goes on serving up the same old routine and one craves a different taste, a more sumptuous offering, a choice savoring for one’s palate, it is just plain hard to have to eat yet another bowl of Cheerios.
What’s been on your daily menu lately? Banana Mannacakes, Mannawiches, Mannaloaf, Man, I’d love anything but Manna du jour? There may not be a lot of culinary variety in that daily fare, but we should beware of turning up our nose at it. We just might be eating the “bread of angels” sent from the hand of God. (Psalm 78:25 speaking of manna in the wilderness).
Manna got its name when it first appeared on the ground; that strange, never-before-seen or tasted “something.” Our Israeli Iron Chefs looked at one another and said “Manna!” which means “What is it?!” Interestingly, Strong’s concordance connotes the Israelites were also asking “How? Why?”
I confess I’ve been asking the “Manna”/”What is it?” question for some time now. Perhaps so have you.
And in answer, there’s a whisper of “something” Holy Spirit wants our spirits to catch…
We believers today are not meant to subsist on manna, but to receive sustenance from Christ himself.
This is the Bread that came down from heaven. It is not like the manna which our forefathers ate, and yet died; he who takes this Bread for his food shall live forever. John 6:58
Sometimes, though, it is simply easier and less demanding to remain in manna mentality. To be consumed with the day’s “manna,” whatever form that dish may take in life right now, leaves us too weak to consume the very Bread of Life in sufficient quantity to nurture us to a state of abundance. John 6:63 states it this way…
It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life. (AMP)
Don’t get me wrong. I like food, even manna-type food. But I crave the Bread of Life, for without it my flesh is of no profit. That never became so clear until this past cancer season where “Gethsemane” was the only garden in my backyard.
Can you look at the plate of “manna” in front of you and receive it as God’s choice nutrition for you in this present moment? Have you “seen and handled” Christ, the Bread of Life in the midst of your bowl of mush? (I John 1:1) Do you think to stop and ask Him what spiritual value He wants you to identify and ingest in today’s manna sampler?
God has reasons for unappetizing sustenance in manna-land. The most apparent is because He is a compassionate, loving, and merciful Father; slow to anger, longsuffering, and concerned about His children’s welfare. He provides. Even if we plunk our elbows on the table, frown and say “rice again??”
Less apparent but even more important is the taste-test He is administering at such times. Will we dive in to the real meal that is disguised within that bowl of manna? Will we cotton on to the fact that everything God does is out of plan and purpose for us; a spiritual ‘blueprint’ for our life, if you will?
The manna cabana is only meant to be a temporary shelter, friends. Life moves on and with it comes change that helps effect that moving along. But if you find yourself loitering in the diner during desert days and manna is the only thing being dished up at the moment, you can bet God has some distinct messages for you in that alphabet soup.
One of them is spelled s-u-s-t-e-n-a-n-c-e that is going to strengthen you now for what’s coming later.
We all have the same choice to make: complain about it and rebel a little more each day – or – ask the Lord to incarnate that manna into rich substance within us by the help of his Holy Spirit, the true Life-giver; the Bread of Life. Our flesh is like that manna; it spoils and rots if the fresh Bread of God is not gathered into our spirit each day.
The manna cabana may still be the only café in town today, but a while ago I saw another sign on the backside of that desert tent: “Dad’s Diner.”
Whether today’s menu is grits or gourmet, I am…