The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year. Joshua 5:12
During all the time the Israelites were in the wilderness, God fed them. Though they disobeyed, grumbled, made a golden calf and generally were an unpleasant and distrustful lot, God fed them.
I wonder if the miracle is not that God made manna fall from the sky for their daily food, but that God persisted in faithfulness to them when they weren’t likable travelers, which was most of the time!
When they needed food, God rained it down on them. And when they arrived in a place where manna was no longer needed, it stopped. The simple verse above reminds me that God pays attention to us, knows our needs, and cares for us in the way that is most beneficial to us. It may not be the way we think it should happen. It may not be as unusual as manna; it may be produce that grows in the usual way. But are crops that grow from the soil any less miraculous than manna dropping from the sky?
A favorite quote of mine is one I read in The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. Claiborne is actually relating a response he received from one of his college Bible teachers when he asked the instructor if he still believed in miracles. The instructor said “we have insulated ourselves from miracles. We no longer live with such reckless faith that we need them. There is rarely room for the transcendent in our lives. If we get sick, we go to a doctor. If we need food, we go to a store and buy it. We have eliminated the need for miracles. If we had enough faith to depend on God like the lilies and the sparrows do, we would see miracles. For is it not a miracle that the birds find enough worms each day?”
If we really stop to think about it, what we may think of as ordinary is miraculous. Today I enjoyed a beautiful late winter day. It was a good day to be in the car, and as I sat at a traffic signal, I was mesmerized by the clouds drifting across the sky. What could be more beautiful? How do they do that?
And yesterday, I was thinking about a recent joyous occasion in my life, and the web of events that led to this occasion. Some didn’t even involve me. Some occurred over five years ago. Some seemed so insignificant at the time they occurred that I would not have given them a second thought had I not been reflecting on this joyous occasion. Yet had any single one of these events not happened, I might not have had this significant occasion to celebrate. The web of life is intricate, interconnected and miraculous!
To see the world with eyes of wonder, to make room for the transcendent, the miraculous, is to make all of life sacramental—the apple, the cloud, the soil, the meal shared with a friend. There is no place where God is not.