A cloud, some fire and a little mana.

This post is full of thoughts that have been thought before. It’s full of connections that have been connected by others and probably in a much more eloquent way at that. This post is specific to me and where I am and probably not revolutionary to you. But the contents of this post have breathed life into some dead and dry places in my own life. As I sat at my desk today working and coming down off of that vacation high I was reminded of what the Lord had shown me. I almost let go of the lessons and words and pictures stored in my mind as I got back to reality. I almost let the stress and screams of life rob me of the life giving rest and reflection the Lord had gifted me just a week ago. So here I am to hold onto these things and to make sure that I don’t forget.

Sometimes we need to step back from our lives and take a break or at least take a breath and take a peek inside.

Sometimes we need a forced perspective to see what is really going on in our lives and our hearts. I have been in a season of transition and honestly just a season of confusion at times. I have changed jobs and ministries within the last year and found myself wondering what to make of it.

What to do or where to go or where not to go?

Where does God have me?

Where does He show up in this?

How am I serving Him and making disciples?

Why do I feel so stagnant?

Why do I feel so alone in this?

Is this it? Is there more?

Do I need to just succumb to this place right here? Because if so, I don’t like that answer.

All of this and more has been going on in my head and heart. But the Lord knew. He knew I needed a change and He knew that I needed to be refreshed right now, right where I am. I was able to get away for a few days and had a friend come stay with me. Honestly, just having her here made me step back from my day to day, while I was still in my day to day, and really see things for what they were and what they were not.

As we left town we decided to just kind of go with the flow this trip. No forced schedule or timeline. We would drive and get where we were going when we ended up there. This is so not me but I knew I needed to do it and it was so good for my soul.

Like so good.

Taking the long way and driving up the coast was so majestic that I kind of forgot about everything else and I was able to just be consumed in God’s beautiful creation. We drove through mountains as the clouds lifted off to reveal the very blue sky underneath. We drove up the coast and through farmland, through city and through small towns and it was everything.

Thankfully long car rides produce long conversations. One of those conversations was about the Lord and His leading. God’s provision for the Israelites came to mind for me. The next morning as I sat outside reading the word that is exactly where I was. I was in the thick of it with the Israelites. God was leading them by cloud and fire. God spoke to me as I sat there in the morning light.

He spoke to me of deserts and clouds and fire and mana and fear and stagnation and… well, He just spoke to me of all the things that come with all of those things.

He showed me that I have a tendency towards wandering much like the Israelites. He doesn’t leave but I become complacent and I try in my own power to do and to be. But most of the time I’m just wandering, wanting to be in His will or just waiting for His will to supernaturally be poured over me but really I’m just stuck in a desert being fed mana and hating it. Exodus speaks of God providing mana and giving specific instructions to the Israelites to gather just enough for each person in their tent and not leaving any left over. The Israelites take enough for their tent but then they don’t eat it all and they don’t get rid of the remaining mana. They’re either really bad at taking full direction (same Israelites, same), straight up disobedient or they go into survival mode and try to think ahead. Either way this results in some rancid mana. 

They didn’t trust and obey God.

 I sat there and read and thought, that’s me.

I fear, I don’t trust, I walk around the desert hot and grumpy, complaining all the way and I don’t trust God to move or show up. So, I do on my own and end up with rotten results. Just like the Israelites ended up with rotten mana. I end up with results that leave me wanting and confused and this has become a pattern for me, one that I have yet to break.

As I went through the rest of the weekend I didn’t fear or want or worry. I just went where the day took me. I rested and sought the Lord. I recognized that it is my wandering and not the Lord that frustrates me so.

I need to realize that God will provide for my need.

I prayed on this trip to be led by the Lord by cloud and fire, to have open ears and eyes to what He has for me today, not tomorrow but for today. I prayed to end my wandering so that I can run freely in His will for me, so that I can run in the fullness of the life He has for me. I need to trust that His mana is better than anything I could ever conjure up for myself. I need to understand that I’m not just biding my time waiting for the next thing to happen but I need to sit in the fullness of the life he has me in right now. I prayed that I would bathe in His light and life giving breath that sustains and surrounds me.

I needed to take a break from my life and understand where I am and what that means. Where that means my heart is. I needed to come up for a breather and remember it’s ok to be human because that means that God is God. That boundaries I have set up for myself are not necessarily the same boundaries that the Lord wants for me. That a night of just laughing with friends or long car rides filled with voices singing at the top of their lungs is good for the soul and can breathe life into some dead spaces within. That what I have said no to isn’t necessarily what God has said no to. That I need to open myself up to what the Lord has and not just bow down to my fear and waste my time trying to store up what I think I might need for tomorrow.

Maybe this all just sounds like the ramblings of a crazy person but I think there are many of us wandering, discontented in the desert. Many of us are frustrated with where life has us. Many of us don’t realize that we are just wandering in circles just biding our time. Many of us are not living in the fullness of the life the Lord has for us. We just keep circling the same cactus wondering when we will be rescued from the horrid landscape (no offense to you desert lovers out there). Just as the Israelites, we keep ourselves there. We could be out of the desert a lot sooner if we would stop complaining and dragging our feet. If we stopped and took a breath and moved forward instead of in the same circle we’ve been moving in. Let’s dust off our clothes, say goodbye to the cactus and move in a different direction, move forward and live, today, in the fullness of the day the Lord has for us.


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