Our deep love for food has been well-documented here.  Both Katherine and I relish the opportunity to try and taste and savor everything--we always have--all the more because following Katherine's stroke, her prognosis for ever eating orally was very slim.  Now, as we celebrate each meal around our dining room table, we are inherently reminded of the immense gift of this simple act.  And even when we "bless the hands of whoever made it", we know that each bite is truly from our ultimate provider.

 

This second week of Lent, the topic is: "I am the Bread of Life...Jesus as Provider"

 

"He said to them, 'I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.' " -- John 6:35

 

In this passage, Jesus has just miraculously fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, which naturally whipped them up from a "hangry" state into a food-induced frenzy.  Such a miracle could only be done by the Messiah, one who would surely be the conquering King and apparently a perpetual vending machine for the Jewish people.  Not a bad combo!  Naturally, the people's interpretation was not at all the reality of who Jesus was going to be for them.  Interestingly enough, their response is often the same as ours when we experience who Jesus can be in our lives.  We ask Him, "what do we need to do to get all the good stuff from you?"--the subtext being, how can we satisfy all our desires for ourselves?  Jesus' answer to us is the same as it was to the people on that hillside, he says, "just BELIEVE in me and you will have the bread and the provision and the satisfaction that lasts forever."

{James' 1st birthday--10/16/08; like only a mother would do, Katherine feeds her son a cupcake, though she herself cannot eat it}

 

Though I can attest to experiencing some embarrassing bouts of "hanger" when I don't get fed in a timely manner, truly, very few of us can ever claim to know what real hunger is.  Even when Katherine was not eating by mouth, her stomach was always filled with enough calories, and yet, she was tormented by the desire for the real experience of breaking bread.  Likewise, we can try and fill ourselves with any number of things that we think we desire in this life, and yet the hunger pangs for true fulfillment will always remain.

{the last night before freedom from the feeding tube, after 11 months and 5 days}

 

After escaping slavery in Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, seeking the promised land.  God provided them with manna to eat, just enough for the day, so that the next morning, they would wake up looking to Him for their basic provision.  As we progress deeper into these 40 days of Lenten re-focusing and fasting, the hope is that our hunger for things we have forsaken will lead us to the source of all things.

 

A recent quote by Rankin Wilbourne says it so well, "In Egypt, God brought the people out of slavery in an instant, but it took 40 years in the wilderness to get the slavery out of them, that they may understand that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord....God was saying then, and He is saying today, I have unheard of resources to meet your needs.  This is what living by faith looks like.  When all else looks helpless, and you wonder, 'how am I going to get through this?', you hold on to His word, even when you cannot hear His voice.  You hold on to that word--'you are my beloved, in whom I am well-pleased, wherever I lead you' ".

 

Wherever the Lord leads you, particularly in the coming weeks, may you feel the satisfaction and provision only found in Him.