I might as well be up front with you from the beginning: I have a pantry problem. And a freezer problem too, for that matter.
I guess you could blame it on the fact that I come from an ancestral line of farming women who knew how to can and pickle and pantrify and store up for winter with the best of them. Even today, if you went to my grandma’s house, you’d find a stuffed freezer upstairs, plus another full freezer and a huge deep freeze in the basement—all of them stocked with goodies.
I missed the farming and canning gene, but I sure got the freezer gene.
If my husband and I don’t have a backup of everything in the pantry, and if our freezer door can close without heroic efforts, I start getting vaguely antsy. I do realize I live in the era of Costco and Super Walmart, not Little House on the Prairie, but I can’t seem to help myself.
That’s probably, I’ve been realizing lately, because there’s a spiritual component to my neurosis. The stocked pantry and freezer give me a false sense of security…like if I can control what’s on the shelves, I somehow have more control over my life.
I wonder if that’s why God implemented the manna diet for the Israelites when they were wandering in the desert. At first glance, this story in Exodus seems to one of straightforward provision: the Israelites are hungry; God gives them food. But on closer reflection, I find it interesting to note his process. He doesn’t give them a yearly or monthly or even weekly supply of food to store up on. No, he gives them what they needed for today.
They try to hoard it, of course, and put in their pantries. But here’s what happens:
Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.” But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell.
Every morning when the people woke up to find manna scattered on the ground, it was a reminder that they weren’t in control, that they could stock their pantry all they wanted to, but ultimately they were dependent on their Provider.
And so it is with grace. I want to hoard it, stockpile it, stash backup supplies in my pantry. But God says, “No, my child. I know you, and I know that if you stored it away, you would forget the one who gave it to you in the first place. I will give you the grace you need. Just enough for today.”
I’ve taken the challenge of reading the Bible chronologically this year and tracing the thread of grace through it. These musings are prompted by my reading. I’d love to have you join me: One Year Bible reading plan.