A Lenten Prayer

Bread from Heaven

“I will send bread down from heaven like rain. Each day the people can go out and gather only enough for that day. That’s how I will see if they obey me. (Exodus 16:4)

The scripture I chose for this Lenten reflection reminded me of a discussion I had a few days ago with several of my students about Psalm 22. We discussed the verse in which the psalmist declares that, due to Yahweh’s goodness, the poor will not only have just enough to eat but that they will have enough to be fully satisfied (v. 26: “The poor will eat and be full.”).

After the class ended, I recalled former days when I was a poor, self-supporting young student who, though usually able to gather together enough dollar bills and coins to eat a little something at most meals, often needed to restrain herself and save a portion of each small meal, setting aside some for the next morning in order to avoid going to school or work hungry. I was poor. So, I had to intentionally limit my satisfaction. But Psalm 22 reminded me that God wants even the poor to enjoy hearty meals. Exodus 16:16 also makes that clear in God’s instructions regarding the bread from heaven: “Collect as much of it as each of you can eat.”

The scriptures I’ve cited in this post reveal God’s willingness to satisfy us completely as we develop strong, close relationships with God. We don’t have to stay in situations outside God’s will for us simply to have plenty to eat. Instead, we can go wherever God calls us and trust God to provide for us in any wilderness to which God beckons us to live, learn, and serve.

We can freely engage fully in the daily life God destines for us. We can relish the provisions God sends as they come to us each day. We can believe that our God who created us and knows us wants all our needs to be fully satisfied. We can depend on God and on God’s timing.

A Lenten Prayer:   Our dear Holy God, help us focus on living lives that satisfy you. Guide us to be more and more like our brother, Jesus. Grant every desire of our hearts as you align all our hearts’ desires completely with your will. Amen.