When the Hebrew people were miraculously liberated from Egyptian slavery, they found themselves wandering in the desert. God provided their food in the form of a flour-like substance that came directly from heaven each day. The people had no idea what this stuff was. They said to each other “What is it?,” which is the word “Manna” in the Hebrew language.
Personally, I don’t scoop nutritional powder off the front lawn every morning in order to eat. Still, I’m dependent on God for every aspect of my life. And He does meet my needs, often the way He met the hunger of the Hebrew children – in the form of “What is it?”
Solutions to complex, specific problems are revealed through people who I wouldn’t expect to be knowledgeable in those areas, giving me not only a solution to my problem, but a dose of humility as well. Encouragement comes from the least likely sources. The deepest friendships I have today are with individuals I might never have pursued, had I relied on my own analysis of compatibility. In all these cases and many more, I walk away saying “What is that, God?”
The God of the Universe could have sent bagels, lox, and cream cheese to the children of Israel. He didn’t. Instead of revealing Himself to them in a way they’d easily and immediately understand, He added some mystery to the equation. (Of course I have no idea why.) Eventually, the Hebrew people figured out what to do with it.
For years I looked for God in the typical places one might expect to find Him. I spent a lot of time lonely and frustrated. Today, I’m not afraid to break open the box in which I had put things I considered spiritual. In ordinary, out of the ordinary, and extraordinary moments of life, I am learning to pause and ask “What is it?” Often, it’s God Himself.
(“Thanks” to Tom B., who provided the seed of these thoughts during one of our many stimulating conversations.)