Wilderness Day 2

The first day of anything like the first day of school, the first day of a training, the first day of your work, you’re like, I get the badge and everything’s shiny, and everything feels like a new undertaking, and there’s this sparkle of possibility. By day two, this is dulled. And now you’re kind of in this dense fog where you don’t have the shiny possibility of day one or the running toward the finish line of day three. No matter what the middle is, experience does not give us easy passage through struggle. Experience only grants us a little grace that whispers, “This is a part of the process. Stay the course. Stay the course.” We’re in Day Two friends, and again, experience doesn’t even give us a little spark of light in this mess right now, it only gives us a little bit of faith that we can navigate it together. Most of the time when we’re in complete darkness, we wave our arms around to reach out and grab someone who can walk with us, to get our bearings, to give us perspective, to hold on to. I think it’s that time. The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens. If we believe in ourselves, if we reach out together, and if we lean into a little bit of that grace that says, “We can get through this.”

Brown, B. (Host). (2020, September 2). Brené on Day 2. [Audio podcast episode]. In Unlocking Us with Brené Brown. Cadence13. https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-on-day-2/

Exodus 16:2-15 (Adapted from The Voice)

And as soon as the people of Israel came to the wilderness, they all grumbled and complained:

Israelites: It would have been better if we had died by the hand of the Eternal in Egypt. At least we had plenty to eat and drink, for our pots were stuffed with meat and we had as much bread as we wanted. But now you have brought the entire community out to the desert to starve us to death.

Eternal One (to Moses):  Look! I will cause bread to rain down from heaven for you.

Moses and Aaron (to the Israelites):   This will take place when the Eternal One provides you with meat in the evening and plenty of bread in the morning because He hears all your grumbling and complaining against Him. Why do you complain to us? Your complaints are not against us, but against Him.

They all looked out toward the desert, and the radiant glory of the Eternal could be seen in the cloud.  The Eternal spoke to Moses:

Eternal One :  Rest assured, I have heard the constant complaining of the Israelites. Tell them, “In the evening, you will have meat to eat; and in the morning, you will have enough bread to satisfy your gnawing hunger. Then you will know that I am the Eternal your God.”

 That evening, quail flew in and covered the camp; and when morning arrived, what seemed to be ordinary dew was all around the camp. But when the dew evaporated, it left behind a thin, mysterious, flaky substance that looked like frost on top of the dry desert ground.  The people of Israel went out to examine it. They had never seen anything quite like it.

Israelites: What is it?

The people didn’t have a clue what this strange substance was.

Moses: It is the bread which the Eternal has given you to eat.

It was definitely Day 2 in the wilderness for the Israelites. After grumbling and complaining a lot, they asked, “What is this?” about the bread the Lord gave to them. They called it “manna” and said “it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” (16:31) The sufficiency and sweetness of the bread didn’t keep the people from looking back to pre-wilderness days in Egypt when they had onions and garlic to spice things up.

Soul Search. Jesus taught us to pray: “Give us our daily bread.” What does daily bread mean to you? Moses said the manna in the wilderness “is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.” Do you trust God to be sufficient in providing for your needs today?

 Do all things without grumbling or disputing…shine as lights in the world,  holding fast to the word of life…” Philippians 2:14-16

What does Day 2 look like for you? As you find yourself in the middle of the mess of life, what do you complain about on a regular basis? Be honest with whatever discontent rises up in you.

What’s the difference between grumbling and complaining? It might simply have something to do with “humility.” Arrogance is born of distrust in God’s provision to work things together for good. Humility accepts God’s presence in times of hardship, pain, and questioning. Where would you put yourself on a line between arrogant grumbling and humble complaining?

The wilderness is messy, but it is where miracles happen.

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