We’ve been fogged in lately. Drizzly days that leave the earth spongy, small pools collecting on the sidewalks and the constant drip, drip, drip of rain splattering the windows. I love to watch the clouds roll through the city from my small terrace perch, to spot the hues of gray swirling and dancing with the far off blue. Rainy days seem to bring the paradox of beauty and pain to the forefront of my life. I can instantly feel gloomy, but find the grace in lighting a candle, can feel isolated as plans to enjoy the outdoors are washed out, but relish in the cozy feeling of staying in and making soup to warm up.
Among these cozy days I’ve been reading much from Exodus. I’ve found the story of the Israelites so relevant to my life in the years since moving to New York and back again, as we’ve ventured out into the unknown, trusting God to give us roots and a home of his making. I often think I’d have followed him anywhere with wild faith if I’d just left a sea split in two, water torn right down the middle to make a way for me.
Do you know how long the Israelites walked in the desert before they began to grumble? Before they had forgotten the wonder of God in their midst?
2 months and 15 days.
Yep. For real. That’s all the time it took for faith to fly away.
They grumbled because they were hungry. They thought they were going to die, that the God who had provided for them in the most miraculous of ways was going to leave them high and dry in the desert. Instead?
He told them He was about to rain bread from heaven, and that in the morning, they would see the glory of the Lord because of their grumbling.
In their cries and questioning about the provision of God, he didn’t turn away until they were faithful, he didn’t wait until they trusted him, Scripture says, their grumbling was the reason he rained down glory.
And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord because he has heard your grumbling against him. -Exodus 16:7
One of the most beautiful mysteries of grace is that when we have questions stirring, when we know complaints lie beneath our tidy exterior, when we experience fogged in and rainy days of the soul, we get to experience the glory of God by coming to him when we are most empty, most hungry and most in need. That is the very moment that we are able to be nourished by the Bread of Life.
If it is raining in your corner of the world today, don’t be afraid to let your true heart be known before God. He is longing to be your candle in the darkness, to find you in the lonely and thin places, and to see you empty your grumbles before his feet, so that he can fill you up with that which will never spoil. . . His very self.
He cares for you now, just as you are.