(a mid-week devotion from Pastor Steph)
Once upon a time, way, way back in the 11th chapter of Numbers, people were complaining. Ok, people were complaining way before that, but for the purposes of our story today, they were specifically complaining in Numbers 11. About what, you ask? Well, it seems that as the people wandered in the wilderness, being led by God in a pillar of fire and fed by God with manna from heaven, the people got – bored. Whiny. Annoying. Rather than being thankful that God was leading and feeding them, they remembered that when they were slaves in Egypt they sometimes had onions and fish and garlic… and they complained.
God heard their complaint and provided Quail. Quail that was on their plates every day for a month. So much quail it literally made them vomit.
Good thing we’re not like that, huh?
Well, once upon a time, way, way back in 2020, people were complaining. For God was seeing them through a pandemic, guiding them through a wilderness of new ideas, and helping them to make sense of it all. Indeed, there was true pain and terrible loss. God helped the people to handle that, and the people were grateful. But in the midst of it all, they still complained – because they were stuck indoors. Because wearing masks made their glasses fog up. Because there was too much politics on tv. Because the pandemic seemed to go on and on, and there seemed to be no flavor in their dreary 2020 lives.
God heard their complaint and provided Quail. No, not the literal kind. But God gave them what they asked for. At least, that’s the way it sometimes seems for me: The image of the quail has often been an image that helps me to place things in their proper place in my life. If I am feeling sorry for myself, or impatient, or thinking that I am in some way oppressed, all I need to do is look around and see all I have. And, on at least one occasion when I prayed a whiny prayer asking for more flavor in my life, God provided so much Quail it indeed overwhelmed me, and I just had to laugh at myself. Perhaps that has happened to you as well.
This week I ask all of us: In our own ‘once upon a time’ stories, where are we whining for that which we don’t truly need? Where is God giving us Quail, to help us learn more about ourselves? Where has God fed us what we truly need? Where is God providing manna from heaven? This week… May you be fed but not overfed. May it be enough.