Day two is hard. Growling stomach, growling mother. For the first time in the six years I have doubts that I won’t endure the week. Maybe it’s the recent illness and my body is weaker than normal. I am flesh and bones. But I’m mostly spirit. So I reach back on fasts of the past and cling to truths given me by the One Who Sustains me.
I recall the Israelites. An entire people group delivered by God and led into the desert. It’s not mere geography that determines the place of freedom for this holy people. God takes them to an environment deplete of resources. Where their need for him is certain.
Three days without finding water. When it finally reaches their lips, it’s bitter. Their grumbling reaches the heavens. God always hears.
And he turns the bitter to sweet.
Hunger overcomes them. They remember meals of the past. Meat and abundant food enjoyed during years of bondage. Their desire to feed their flesh produces a longing for the place where they had been held captive.
We’d rather eat in bondage, than starve in the places God leads us to.
I remember Africa. My desert. Deplete of all that once satisfied my flesh. I wanted to return to those things that enslaved me – everything that kept me from really seeing. Because at least there I was comfortable.
But comfort is not a place where God meets and transforms people.
I hungered and thirst. There were days I thought I would starve. And I grumbled. Oh, how I grumbled! Just like them, I cried, “Did you bring me here to die?”
And he whispered, “Yes.”
With God, death is certain. The cross was always part of his plan.
We also must die in order for God to resurrect new life in us. But in our dying, he never lets us go hungry.
Jehovah Jireh. He always provides. Just enough.
And his food is better than ours. Through the hungry bellies of his special people, God begins to shape their faith. To build trust in The One Who Provides.
And from the great African sky, manna always fell. Just enough. And as I slowly died, I became more alive than I had ever been.
Today, in my discouragement and doubt, I remember that God always hears my cries. My grumbling stomach and my grumbling spirit gets noticed by The Only One who can really feed me. He always provides. And the more uncomfortable I get, the more ready I am to be transformed.
He will sustain me.