On this Saturday of the Third Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.
After God freed the Israelites from Egypt, He sent them through the unfamiliar terrain of the wilderness and then the desert. At first grateful for their freedom, the Israelites later regretted the change and resented their deliverer:
“If only we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our kettles of meat and ate our fill of bread! But you have led us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of famine!” Ex. 16:3.
They complained that God delivered them from a land of plenty—where their bodily needs were met—to the sparsity of the desert and wilderness.
God heard their cry and provided for His people, but on His terms. Each day He provided their daily allotment of quail and manna. And He gave them water from a rock. Through this rationing, the Israelites learned to look to God for all their needs.
Does God teach me this lesson?
For me, sometimes God shakes me out of the complacency of routine to remind me how much I need Him, and how much I can rely on His provisions. For example, a few years ago I traveled to Benin, a beautiful country on the Atlantic coast of Africa.
I thoroughly prepared for the trip, researching the culture, the U.S. Embassy contacts, etc. Because of this, my two weeks there were enjoyable and I settled into a busy yet comfortable routine. On the trip back, however, I had to take a detour through Burkina Faso, a country I hadn’t researched, hadn’t prepared for, and knew nothing about. My flight reservation—originally through a major European carrier—changed to a small African “puddle jumper” whose safety was questionable. And I was landing in Burkina Faso at night.
I was already nervous about the changed itinerary, and my nerves were strained even further when my initial flight was delayed, causing me to miss my connection in Burkina Faso. And my connection was the last flight out that night! So, I was stuck in a foreign airport in an unknown land in the middle of the night. I was scared!
I leaned heavily on God for my sanity. Over and over again, I prayed “Hail Mary” until some semblance of calm settled over me.
God taught me to rely on Him and remember that all success comes from Him and all glory belongs to Him.
Maybe that is God’s intent when I find myself in uncomfortable situations. Maybe when God uproots me, it is because He wants me to draw all I need from Him. He knows that I can’t get what I truly need from any other source than the soil of His love.