An excerpt from one of my teachings that that might become a book:
Like snowflakes that didn’t melt, freshly gathered manna half-filled the wicker bowl. Arrayed around it seated or kneeling on a large hide, Keila’s five siblings methodically dipped out portions with desert-brown hands. But this morning, the very look of the yellow-white fluff aroused rebellion in her esophagus. The thought of eating it – again, for the fifth year, eighth month and 29th day of her young life – caused sensations of rebellion throughout the length of her digestive tract. Her stomach alerted her to the imminence of a hurl. Suddenly anxious and self-conscious, she glanced around at the others. Laughing and chattering, they exuberantly shoveled the stuff down as if it were candy. This only made Keila feel worse. What was wrong with her? Why couldn’t she learn to enjoy the daily handout from heaven? To excuse herself would have provoked questions and to pitch her share against the tent was to starve. So she steeled herself instead for another tasteless meal by which to survive one more day.
Mentally commanding her throat to stop constricting, she bravely dipped her fingers into the rubbery snowflakes. “You’re slow today,” noted her older sister, scooping the little remaining meal toward Keila. The others finished and trundled off to do their chores, which mainly consisted of finding some green leaves for the precious goat who would give birth in a few days, feeding, watering and milking the cow, and helping Mother make more tasteless manna cakes for the evening meal.
Cain snuffed about looking for tidbits, but only half-heartedly. A hunter of lizards and mice, he had access to a smorgasbord of delicacies plus entertainment all the day long. “Stupid mutt!” she kicked some sand at the dog. “I a human have such a tough life while you live like a king! Life would be better,” she mused, “without a tongue. Then I wouldn’t have to taste this tastelessness. What’s the use of a tongue when everything tastes like mud?” Stuffing a wad of the manna into her unwilling oral cavity, she tried to swallow without chewing. Alerted to the entrance of undesirable material, for an instant of panic her stomach threatened to send it all spewing out. With great effort she forced it down, like a golf ball slowly sliding along till it dropped like a lead weight into her stomach.
Does it seem that your life is tasteless? Are you just surviving but not thriving? Perhaps you’ve been asking God “Why don’t the miracles I read about in the Bible happen to me? Why am I always struggling and just trying to make it till next Sunday? Why am I always searching for someone to encourage me? Why am I frustrated, defeated and fearful? Isn’t there more to my life than this? ” Perhaps even after attending many conferences and receiving ministry and counseling and spiritual ministry from others, your life still tastes kind of like a wad of manna.
If that’s you, then you’re in a desert. But I have good news!
The desert is God’s training ground but it’s not home. The desert isn’t your permanent residence. It has a purpose but it is supposed to be temporary. You are going to move from manna land to the land flowing with milk and honey!
Secondly, manna is God’s welfare system. It isn’t supposed to taste good. It was intended to be blah and drab so that the people would desire something better. You aren’t supposed to get comfortable with mediocrity, second best or just surviving. You are called to “be the head and not the tail,” (Deut. 2813) to “set an example” (Tit. 2:7) and to have “life and life more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). So if you’re dissatisfied with the status quo like Keila, then you’re on the right track! When the time comes to enter the Promised Land, you won’t look for excuses to keep eating manna.
The question everyone wants to know is “how do I enter that promised land? How do I get to where my life is full of adventure, joy, fulfillment and abundance?” The answer can span volumes… or it can be contained in a single phrase:
Get on purpose outside of yourself.
Being a person with a life on purpose for God and others is a fountain of youth. I’ve seen 86-year-olds more vigorous than those half their age because despite a few creaks, they refused to succumb to the curse of “retirement.” Instead they refired their youth by finding new ministry opportunities, new ways to serve others, new avenues by which their years of wisdom could enrich the next generation.
By purpose I don’t mean striving, workaholicism or making ourselves a slave. Purpose is balanced. It creates time for Sabbaths, recreation, and play. It enjoys life, while stewarding that enjoyment to always prioritize the purpose.
A friend whom I will call Angie was a straight A student pursuing her PhD from an eminent seminary. She was a powerful preacher of the Gospel and anointed in the gift of prophecy. Then she married a jerk who severely abused her for many years. After suffering debilitating spinal and hip injuries, she finally divorced him. But the injuries didn’t heal. Multiple operations only made things worse. Due to constant pain, she sank into depression and addiction to prescription painkillers. Her entire focus was on trying to find healing, trying to get free of pain, and trying to survive another day. In that state of mind, she only sank lower and lower.
Eventually she realized that focusing on her own problems – real and serious as they were – was not the answer. Obsession with her own healing and health was in fact killing her. With much prayer and gathering all the courage she had, she determined to get back on track to pursue God’s call on her life. Without money and still beset with pain, nevertheless she set out to complete her PhD. Meanwhile she also began again to travel and minister the Gospel. Wherever she went, miracles followed! She is no longer a victim. Despite terrible circumstances, she came out of the desert by proactively doing that which served others.
There are seasons in life. You might not have the same purpose forever. Some of us have many purposes all going at the same time. But each of us must find at least one. Your victory is awaiting you as well! Your spiritual and emotional promised land with all the luscious tastes of fruit and vegetables and meats and grains is calling. What is the purpose for which you were born? One great purpose outside of yourself is enough to turn manna into Muesli and a desert into a delicacy! When your daily routine includes serving God and making a difference in the lives of others, you have got a life on purpose and your adventure has begun!
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.Matthew 6:33