I was raised by two parents. I have always been provided for. I have never gone hungry. So I put this spiritual-sounding word away, and made no plans to look at it more closely.
Until last night. Until today. Because here's what I realized: I am not an orphan, but in so many ways, I have been living like one.
I have heard stories about adoptive parents—that they often catch their children slipping bits of food from their dinner plates into their pockets, and surreptitiously storing things beneath their pillows for safekeeping. Although these children now have a family and a full stomach, their former status as orphans has taught them that they must fend for themselves; fight for provision; expect the worst; shield their hearts from disappointment; not count on or trust in anyone or anything else.
I have been hiding manna beneath my pillow. I have been opening my hands to receive God's blessings and promises, then stuffing bits and pieces of them into my pockets just in case He decides not to come through for me tomorrow. I have seen Him do countless wonders, and yet time after time have questioned whether or not that last miracle was the final one I'll ever see. "I'm probably on my own from here on out," I've thought to myself. I've decided it's best if I fend for myself; fight for provision; expect the worst; shield my heart from disappointment; not count on or trust in anyone or anything else.
. . .
In Exodus, God miraculously provides food for the Israelites so that they will live and not die while wandering through the desert.
"When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, 'What is it?' For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, 'It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat."
Soon after, Moses added, "No one is to keep any of it until morning."
Moses' directions were pretty clear. And yet, what did the people do?
"However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell." (Ex. 16 has the full story)
I would probably be tempted to judge the Israelites for the total lack of faith demonstrated here if I hadn't done the exact same thing so many times in my own life. Let me just tell you about some of the miracles I have personally experienced:
- One day while living in France, I locked myself out of the home I was staying in. It was hot outside, I did not have a key, and I was panic-stricken—no one would be returning home for another eight hours. I did that thing in the movies where the actors throw a shoulder against the door over and over, but to no avail. So in that moment, with nothing else to turn to, I prayed: "God, please open this door. You have to open this door." And He did. The door clicked open, and I walked inside and retrieved my key.
- Last year I had the opportunity to work with an incredible 90-year-old woman who needed help writing her autobiography. I remember feeling distinctly one day that I was to go and print out the entire manuscript before our visit, and so I did. She was delighted to have a copy of her story; to know that all of the words she wanted to say had been recorded and kept safe. She passed away just three days later.
- In July of 2012 in Hilton Head, South Carolina, I heard the Lord tell me that Taylor Kiker was going to be my husband. In July of 2013 in Hilton Head, South Carolina, I became his wife.
. . .
Throughout the process of writing and producing Hitched in a Hurry, the Lord has been evident. He provided an editor, a designer. He gave me more contacts in the wedding industry than I would have ever dreamed possible. He inspired an event planner to reach out and help me plan a launch party. He even arranged a photo shoot so that I would have a wedding-themed author photo to use on the back cover of the book.
But last night, I chose to worry about a few elements of this forthcoming project that haven't fallen into place yet. I chose to reach for control. I chose to forget everything He has done and wring my hands about everything that still needs to be accomplished. Today, I'm choosing to do the opposite.
Today, I choose to stand in faith as He puts the finishing touches on this forthcoming project in accordance with His will and timetable. I choose to release control. I choose to remember everything He has done and clap my hands in anticipation of everything He will accomplish.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. A better way of saying that: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17
We don't have to fend for ourselves in this world. We don't need to manipulate or control the circumstances around us, fear the future, or reserve our trust for ourselves alone. We don't have to live like spiritual orphans. All we have to do is abide in the Father's love for us and rest in our identities as children of the Living God.
Time and time again He's proven that He'll provide the manna; that He's the giver of our daily bread; that His provision won't run out. Isn't it time to stop storing manna beneath our pillows, now?
. . .
"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:32