Through a Glass Darkly:  Adventures In Babysitting (In Space) 1 Cor 13:12

“Shoot the red eye!  No, the RED eye!  RED!  RED!!!!  Ok, shoot the Middle eye!  The MIDDLE eye!  The RED MIDDLE eye!  See, now you are dead.  I hope you are happy.  I told you to shoot the stupid red eye.”  Confused?  Don’t worry, I will explain what all this means in just a minute.  But first, let’s jump ahead into the present before I explain the meaning of this frustrating exchange.

We have come a looooong way.  Thanks to devices like the Kinect I can simply bark out commands to my console and voila!  The system switches shows, searches the web, snaps between applications… I can’t wait until this technology is integrated into my lawn mower.  I can tell you from experience, it wasn’t always this way, and the path to the caliber of voice recognition we enjoy now was certainly a rocky one.  And to illustrate this, I am going way back into my archives into the PS2 era and a game that was both incredibly obscure and ahead of its time.  If you have heard of it then I grant you 20 bonus nerd cred points on the spot… It is called Lifeline.

Lifeline has a concept that honestly needs to be revisited, because it certainly had the potential to be amazing if it wasn’t limited by the technology of the time.  To play this game you had to have a headset, which is incredibly common now but this game launched way back before online gaming had hit home consoles in a  meaningful way so just getting a compatible headset was an obstacle.  Slipping your headset on, the game thrusts you into the control of a character who is locked in a secure room on a space station, a room which you are unable to leave.  Your full interaction with the game is through your voice, and in this confined position you are stuck observing the story play out through cameras which you are monitoring from your security station.

While that may not sound exciting, it is here where the action really picks up.  The primary protagonist of the game is the person you are speaking to through your headset, and it is your responsibility to guide them safely through the dangers, enemies, and obstacles that they will face as they discover the truth about the outbreak on the station as well as assist both you and all of the other survivors in escaping the horrific monsters who are running rampant.  You are helpless to assist with anything other than your voice, which creates an entirely different form of exhilaration and excitement as you do your best to keep alive the only person who can free you from lockdown.  With only your verbal commands and your ability to see ahead through the camera system to aid you, this creates the potential for a tense thrill ride as you work together to survive the ordeal.

So why didn’t this unique game find its way into the greatest hits section of your local game store?  With such a novel approach and the innovative use of voice control surely this title was destined to become at least a cult classic, right?  Unfortunately, the genius concept was built on flawed execution, and this is where we return to the beginning of the column.  The voice technology simply didn’t do a great job translating what I said in my headset into action by the protagonist.  I would tell them to turn right, they would open the door to a bathroom.  I would scream at them to run away, they would look at a picture on the wall.  I would beg them to turn around and shoot the monster sneaking up behind them, and they would tell me they aren’t thirsty right now.  You get the picture.  What should have been an enjoyably tense experience due to the challenge of keeping another character alive without having direct control became an entirely different kind of stress as I finally reached the point of grim satisfaction watching my disobedient partner fall victim to the very dangers I had been shouting for them to avoid.  On an unrelated note, don’t pick me as your partner in any activity in which you are blindfolded and following the sound of my voice.  It may be hazardous to your health it seems.

Understanding what God wants us to do in a specific, day by day way is one of the most challenging subjects for Christians to discuss, and one of the most common questions believers both new and seasoned grapple with.  If you are like me you yearn for God to make it as simple as a GPS barking directions… “Turn right in 500 feet.  The destination is on your left”.  And while it is true that the closer we draw to God in prayer and through reading His Word the easier it becomes to hear His voice, there are many times that despite my most earnest prayer sessions and focused attempts to seek Him the clear and direct answers I seek remain elusive.  Much like my gaming example, I feel that I am only hearing part of the guidance and I find myself wildly flailing about trying to shoot a door and open a third eye instead of the other way around.   So while this is not a comprehensive list by any means, I would like to share some of the areas I have found that make my “headset connection” with God a little more clear.

First, we have to realize that God is a Spirit, and while He may choose to communicate audibly or through other physical means His primary communication is through His Spirit.  1 Corinthians 2:6-16 unloads a treasure trove of help to understand the communication breakdown and why we may all hear the same thing but each respond to it differently.  Verse 12 tells us that as believers we have received the Spirit of God so that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  And verse 14 explains that the very wisdom of God is received as foolishness by the natural man because the things of God can only be SPIRITUALLY discerned.  So if we try to use our natural mind to rationalize the wisdom of a Spiritual God we will find His commands confusing and counter-intuitive at best.  And that is by design, because we have chosen to follow the paradoxical teachings that include concepts such as the first will be last, bless those who curse you, and lose your life to find it.  Sometimes the disconnect is by trying to hear and comprehend a spiritual message using only our natural mind, leading to misunderstanding and frustration.  By disconnecting our rational response and allowing His Spirit to speak to ours, the signal will finally become clear.

But there is another challenge, one that we cannot escape that is found 1 Corinthians 13.  While most recognize this as the famous “Love Chapter” in the Bible, it is also the source of another critical insight from the Apostle Paul.  Verses 9-12 explain the simple truth inherent in our mortal human existence…. We only see in part, as if we were looking through a glass darkly.  It is the image of having too little light, a surface that obscures some of the message, and a limitation on how much is actually being revealed to us.  No matter how spiritual we become, even Paul shows us that the path won’t always be crystal clear.  Here are a few examples from the diary of Paul that shows us that he knows what he is talking about from personal experience:

Acts 16:6 Went to Galatia as a missionary but was forbidden by the Spirit to preach in Asia.

Acts 16:7 Attempted to travel to Bithynia to minister but the Sprirt of God did not permit me here either.

Acts 16:9 Finally,given guidance in a vision to preach in Macedonia, where I was promptly beaten and thrown in prison.

Sounds like a frustrating series of events for certain, much like my experience while playing Lifeline.  While there are many things we can do to make our daily leaning on God for guidance more productive and insightful, the truth is there will always be a vast expanse of knowledge that will remain beyond our reach.  Even as a veteran missionary Paul was receiving mere glimpses of what to do next, and at times it seemed that he was running around in circles.  And I know I have been there many, many times.  The good news is that the path to hearing God clearly is a process that we will be mastering throughout the course of our lives.  I wish it was easy as buying a specialized headset once I got saved, but it takes time for us learn to follow the simple advice provided in Proverbs 3:5-6:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do NOT lean on your own understanding.  Submit to Him in all your ways and He will direct your path.”

If each day and every choice I make is processed not through my flawed and biased intellect but rather through the Spirit I will easily and more readily submit my will to His desires.  And while the verse does not promise He will draw out an itinerary for you, as Paul found He will continue to gently course correct you until He has you right where you are needed as long as we remain submitted to Him.


The Reason Someone Must Carry the Bucket (Daniel 10)

The Final Fantasy series may be one of the most prolific in all of gaming, with titles stretching back  from the original NES and through numerous handheld, console, PC, and even phone titles.  And within this franchise is an incredible amount of diversity, from the excellence of the turn-based titles, to some of the best tactical RPGs you can find, up to our current active time battle games.  They have toyed with fighting games, racing titles, and even rhythm based entries, but I would posit that one of the most unique creations within their portfolio is also one of the least spoken of:  Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles on the Nintendo GameCube.

Perhaps part of the issue was the complexity involved in playing the game in the multiplayer format it was designed for.  First, you had to be one of the handful of people who actually owned a GameCube in the first place, and we were not a common lot.  Then each player had to have their own Game Boy Advance system AND a link cable to connect it to the GameCube, which was even less common to come by.  And if you had all of the infrastructure AND three friends willing to come to your house and engage in this adventure with you, there was still one more obstacle that remained in your path… The chalice.

Now the chalice was a key component of the gameplay, and its insertion into the game made sense within the context of the story.  To protect the group from the toxic miasma that permeates the game world, one player had to choose the responsibility of carrying the chalice throughout the adventure.  While that may sound insignificant, holding the chalice was actually a full-time job.  You could not attack, defend, or actively participate in any other portion of the game while holding the chalice, or what became semi-affectionately referred to as “carrying the bucket”.  It was not exciting, it was not glamorous, and it certainly was not fun… But it was necessary.  The rest of the party had to remain in proximity to the “bucket holder” for protection and leaving the protective covering provided by the bucket/chalice left them open to receiving damage from the hostile environment that surrounded each of them for the duration of the game.  You could not put the bucket down and walk away or it would cease to provide protection, so one lucky player essentially followed everyone around in a fairly boring fashion while the rest of the squad enjoyed interacting with the game world.  I’m sure you can imagine the conversation when setting up a game with your pals… “I’m not playing if I have to hold the bucket.”  Or, “You always say we will take turns, but I get stuck holding it for hours”.

In our Christian life, an incredibly essential protective covering is available to us as well, and just like the act of carrying the chalice it is not necessarily appreciated as much as it should be.  Oftentimes the subject of prayer leads to talk of how long one should pray for, what specific words and phrases must be incorporated, or even the minutiae of where this physically should be done at.  And within all of the honest attempts to guide God’s people into meaningful prayer through endless books, teachings, and seminars it is easy for us to become jaded or weary with the topic.  So I want to provide a fresh look at prayer from the supernatural aspect found in Daniel 10, a remarkable chapter in the Bible that briefly opens one of the few windows documenting the spiritual warfare that exists around us without our knowledge.

Daniel was gifted with a message from God that he was unable to understand, and his inability to decipher it sent him into a three week period of prayer and fasting. This was new territory for Daniel, as he had previously received quick responses from God on dreams and visions.  As a matter of fact, he owed his existence as a chief advisor in the kingdom to his infamous interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzer’s dream that saved the lives of both him and his friends and propelled him into this place of prominence.  Understanding dreams were kind of his thing, and to be unable to receive a response on something that has previously been his calling card was quite disturbing.  God seemingly turned silent and Daniel’s primary talent was betraying him… I don’t know about you but I know I have been there.

After three excruciating weeks of silence from the heavens, the response to Daniel’s prayers arrives in the form of a literal angel.  This epic creature’s appearance may be stunning enough, but it is the message he carries that is the highlight of this remarkable scene.  His opening statements sets the stage for an eye-opening revelation into the world of prayer and how spiritual warfare works.  From day one Daniel’s original prayer was indeed heard by God and this angel was sent with the answer.  It was never God’s intent to delay the response to prolong Daniel’s suffering or to simply “teach Daniel patience”, although that will certainly occur.  He responded IMMEDIATELY to the cry of His child.  So why the waiting period?  This is where things get really interesting…

If God’s response to my prayers is instantaneous than why am I still waiting?  Because there is OPPOSITION.  In verse 13 the angel explains that for the last three weeks he has been in battle with a being called the “prince of Persia” and was unable to break free of that conflict to bring Daniel his answer until a SECOND angel showed up to give him a hand.  Wow.  Just chew on that for a minute.  Invisible to our eyes two incredibly powerful beings are engaged in “Immortal Kombat” with the answer to our prayers on the line, and Daniel’s perseverance in prayer was rewarded with an additional fighter who turned the tide in this boss fight and gained the victory.  And with this the entire concept of prayer gets turned on its head, moving from a passive wish list of hopes and dreams whispered into the heavens and transformed into a literal realm of conflict and battle where our words put angels and demons into motion.

That’s an incredible thought to fathom.  Daniel’s simple prayer for understanding and guidance was the impetus for an epic three week war between two powerful entities that was at a stalemate until a third joined the party and tipped the balance.  And the fight wasn’t even over, as verse 20 reveals that this angel was returning to the battlefield as soon as he was finished delivering this message to finish what he started. So what does this mean for us?  Sure, it’s cool to know that our words spoken in prayer have this kind of power and impact, but let’s go deeper.  We see that our prayers are not always hindered by some kind of sin or because what we desire is outside of the will of God, although those are both very good Scriptural reasons why an answer can be delayed.  Sometimes it is because the forces of satan are in active resistance to God’s plan for us and it is through our persistence in continuing to pray that our answer will finally break through.  And the larger the destiny, the larger the opposition.

It always looks much more exciting to be the one holding the sword rather than the chalice.  The warrior gets all the glory while the healer thanklessly saves the day.  But the truth is that the apparently passive act of lifting up our prayers is actually the most active, important and world-altering action we can take.  Proverbs 18:21 tells us that the power of life and death resides in our TONGUE, 1 Thess. 5:17 gives us the simple command to pray without ceasing, and in Matthew 6:9-14 we have the template of key elements to include in our prayers.  So between the combination of Solomon, Paul, and Jesus Himself we have a pretty clear picture of how powerful and critical our prayers are.

I will admit that it is easy for my prayer life to become repetitive and passionless, mostly because I forget how much power exists within the words I speak.  Sometimes the delay in receiving the answer leads me to take my problem into my own unstable hands, and I cast the chalice aside along with its protection because it’s hard to stand still and hold the bucket over my head when it doesn’t seem to be doing anything.  But reading this reminds me that our weapons are not material, but spiritual (2 Cor 10:4) and my prayers have as much impact as I choose for them to.  So with that in mind, I am picking up my bucket today and raising it over my head with confidence that my prayers are not only heard but truly change the world around me for both myself and others as well.  I hope you are encouraged to do the same!

Do All Roads Lead to Giants? (Deut 2, Genesis 6)

This was definitely the largest boss I had ever faced in any video game to this point.  As I stared up at the mountainous enemy I was about to battle, I scanned for signs of a giant glowing spot that would give me some indication of a weak spot to exploit.  No such luck.  I wasn’t carrying any weapons that looked like that they would make any impact on this behemoth, and nothing in the environment was giving me a clue as to how to approach him either.  Oh, the dilemmas inherent in giant hunting…

There is an understated beauty in the simplicity of Shadow of the Colossus.  This essential PS2 era experience may not graphically astound today, and the barely-there story may run counter to the dialogue heavy gaming experiences we are now accustomed to, but the bold steps this title takes should not be missed.  The lack of any enemies with the exception of the enormous “colossi” who roam the land, each representing a unique and unforgettable boss fight is a tremendous departure from the standard grind most games utilize to pad out their length.  From my youth I have been fascinated with the ideas of giants, whether they were human giants such as the iconic Andre the Giant, gargantuan robots like my beloved Voltron, or enormous creatures such as dinosaurs or dragons.  Larger than life, they ignite our imaginations as well as challenge our perceptions of reality.  So with these thoughts in mind let’s drift back to the era of giants, back in the Old Testament where they were not that uncommon at all.

I have a fairly high level of confidence that most of us are at least moderately familiar with the most famous giant named in the Bible, Goliath of Gath, and his fatal confrontation with David that would change history for both of their countries.  What many people may not be as aware of is Goliath’s family tree and how he came to be in Gath in the first place.  Very early in the Bible, Genesis 6:4 to be exact, we find the first reference to giant humans being born.  When we move forward into Abraham’s pilgrimage they surface again in Genesis 14:5 with unique names based on where they are from.  Right now I’m glad this is a blog because I don’t have to pronounce these.  They are identified as the Rephaiam, the Zuzim, and the Emim.  These groups are specifically identified as giants in Deuteronomy 2, and it is here we find out what happened to them and what their purpose was in these passages.

There are three distinct stories that exist between the lines in each of these giant groupings, and I know I see parts of myself and the wars I have waged in each of thee in some way or another.  We have the children of Abraham and the children of Lot, the original travelers towards the Promised Land, each facing their own giants in their approach to their destination.  And each has a backstory worthy of exploring and understanding.

JACOB:  The most obvious one, he is the second-born son of Isaac and grand-child of Abraham.  Through a combination of destiny and trickery Jacob usurped the privileged position of inheriting the birthright from his brother through a con worthy of it’s own column.  After impersonating his brother to steal his father’s blessing and then using his ingenuity to con his uncle out of much of his wealth, Jacob has a literal “come to Jesus” moment and begins turning his life the right direction.  Renamed “Israel”, his progeny become the Israelite race and head towards their Promised Land with visions of milk and honey dancing in their heads.  Unfortunately, their initial reconnaissance revealed the presence of giants in the land that scared off all but two of the spies who viewed the land.  It took them forty long years of wilderness wandering to purge those who were too afraid to face the enemies that were ahead from the group, but they eventually made their way into the land of giants and conquered all but the handful that fled and settled into the areas that would eventually give rise to the final giants, Goliath and his brothers.  

ESAU/EDOM: The fallen firstborn, all that Jacob had was originally in Esau’s hands to possess but he made a series of critical errors that cost him this path.  In fairness, God was not surprised by this turn of events and had actually predicted it before Esau had even taken his first steps towards this path.  But these missteps did not remove Esau and his family from God’s plan and his path towards his own “Promised Land”… as a matter of fact this mighty hunter had his share of battles to take Mount Seir, which Deut. 2:5 describes as having been given to the nation of Edom (Esau’s descendants) and that Israel was not to take a single footstep in the land he had defined and separated for Esau.  And how did he get this land?  We find that answer in verses 21-22, as we see that they had their own battles to occupy the land and that the Lord Himself destroyed their enemies as they progressed on His path, ironically without all of the complaining and moping that was present in the “chosen” Jacob’s path.

MOAB and AMMON:  Now here is the most unlikely pair of giant killers on our list.  These were the…. how can I put this nicely… the children of the relationships that occurred between the drunken Lot and Lot’s two daughters.  Born after the events of Sodom and Gomorrah, Moab and Ammon were the result of a perhaps the most confusing physical lineage in the Bible, as their father was also their grandfather, and their mothers were also their sisters.  But their paths were still written by the Lord of the universe, and in spite of their seemingly broken past and embarrassing family secrets He had two specific areas of land full of giants for each of them to conquer and possess as well.   In verse 10 we see the path of Moab played out, as they conquered the giants known as the Emim from their land to inherit their destiny, and in verse 20 we see the same happen for the people of Ammon as they eliminated the giants named the Zamzummin from the land and took it for themselves, all through the protection and leadership of the God of the universe.

Sometimes, it is easy to see Him as the God of the “chosen ones”…those who are gifted beyond our ability to understand and blessed in spite of all of their obvious character flaws.  But what you may not see is that they will face the same giants as those who come from broken and messed up families, or those who have made critical mistakes that make it look like they have fallen off of their destiny due to the sins of their youth.  Each of us have our giants… they inhabit EACH AND EVERY Promised Land.  No matter your background, irregardless of your choices, and without any concern for your skills or abilities, there are giants waiting for you as you attempt to enter your place of destiny.   They are not here as a punishment, although there are times it may feel that way.  They exist in direct opposition between you and your destiny to force you to take the road that people of Esau, Moab, Ammon, and eventually Jacob each had to learn…  that of leaning on God and His power to accomplish what he placed into each of their hearts.  Not by might, and not by power, but by HIS Spirit.

 Just like David in his battle with Goliath many years later, they each had to be an active participant in the battling of the giants that blocked their progression. You cannot simply sit and wait for the giants to grow old and die… they will continue to roll around in defiance of your destiny until you take the first steps to evict them.  But it was through each of them choosing to be dependent on God and His provision and plan that delivered them to their victorious destiny over the behemoths they faced.  So whether you relate most to the trickster and con-man, the fallen prodigal, those broken before they were even born through elements out of their control, or perhaps a combination of all three the truth is there are giants that inhabit the places you are meant to go. They aren’t the result of your sins, your mistakes, or even other’s sins or foolish choices. No, they exist to insure that you do not take one inch of ground in your Promised Land on your own.  You cannot go where you are meant to go without God’s help, and the giants in your path defy your ability to conquer them without His providence.

Rather than stand in awe of the colossal figures I faced in Shadow of the Colossus, it was time to take my sword in hand and begin the slow and methodical process of solving the puzzle of the giant that stood before me.  We each have the same choice in front of us.  We can run away for 40 years the way the Israelite people did, but the giants will still be there when you come back.  The only option is to seek God’s plan, take the sword of the Spirit in our hand, and armed with prayer and the Word of God begin to eliminate those giants that are residing in our territory.  Don’t blame yourself for the giants you face, or the decisions of your parents, friends or family… your giants were inevitable.  But take heart!  Your victory over them was written before those mammoth adversaries ever set took their first step on YOUR property.  

Another Year, Another Madden:  Why We Reject the Manna (Exodus 16, Numbers 11)

The video game industry is nothing if not cyclical, and for good reason.  Launching a new intellectual property carries an exceptionally high cost and massive risk as new game engines must be developed, characters focus-tested, and advertising purchased to secure the new title a spot in the ever-crowded minds of the desired audience.  But when you have a well-branded and familiar license such as the NFL and a franchise that has equally saturated the market like Madden, it’s really hard to blame a company for playing it safe and cranking out a football game each year that is only incrementally different than its predecessor.  And yet each year the plaintive cries of both gamers and football fans alike are heard, asking “What is going to be different in this year’s Madden?”  And then the inevitable cavalcade of complaints appear shortly after launch, in spite of the fact that the game year after year is imminently playable, frequently supports at least a handful of new features, and is always graphically improved over the prior iteration. The game features a football, has football players in it, and they do football things while playing football.  Honestly, what else are we hoping for?

I have been guilty on many occasions of expecting too much from a gaming experience, and perhaps it is because every now and then an over-achieving title comes along that truly does raise the bar and fundamentally shift the playing field and each time I plunk down my $60 I am expecting that to happen again.  Or maybe it’s because I have a vision for what the game could have done differently to improve it, and because I am married to my perspective it is hard not to see anything that doesn’t live up to those standards as a disappointment.  And due to my experience with other games, I can easily pick pieces from them and wish that these elements were successfully integrated into the disc that is currently residing, unloved and under-appreciated, inside my gaming console.  My limited and finite mind can see how this could be so much better, so why isn’t it?

That is the same dilemma that existed immediately after the epic events of the Israeli escape from Egypt and the dramatic drowning of the Egyptian military in the Red Sea.  In a scene that would surpass and embarrass the best special effects we are capable of producing, the Almighty God capped off an unforgettable series of supernatural plagues with a watery fatality that was the knockout punch for an entire country.  So it’s a little surprising that these very same people who just held front row seats to this spectacle are already complaining about the challenges of this new life and how much better it used to be only one chapter later.  In Exodus 16 we find these recently released slaves favoring their former lives due to the food that was available, and God in His grace provides an elegant and miraculous solution in the form of “manna”.

Manna, as described in the Bible, was a type of grain that tasted like pastry bread when prepared.  Mmmmm…. Doughnuts. This daily bread was provided free of charge every morning with the exception of the Sabbath day, and each person was instructed to collect enough each day to meet their needs.  It would appear on the ground in the morning and all that had to be done was to pick it up.  Problem solved, right?  Unfortunately, not so much.  In Numbers 11 the complaining sets in again, as they remember the apparently endless buffet of food they enjoyed during their years of slavery in Egypt.  Wishing they had the produce of servitude over the bread of freedom, they have the audacity to say “all we have is this manna”.  Keep in mind that this was only meant to sustain them until they reached their destination, a land of plentiful food and resources.  But unable to see past their immediate desires and endure the slight hardship of repetitive free food on this journey  they continued to crave a lesser life than accept gradual progress towards their true destiny.

It is easy to sit from this perspective and see the folly of this, but the truth is there are many times in my life that I have received grace and support from the Lord only to become bored with or ungrateful for the very thing I had begged for just weeks or months prior.  Sometimes we actually allow the miraculous protection and provision of God to become mundane, failing to see the multitude of ways each day he protected us from a car wreck, had someone call right when we needed it, or simply kept our heart beating through the night.  It can be easy to see Him when He parts the Red Sea, but do we see Him each time the paycheck clears the bank?  Or when your particular groceries happen to be on sale this week?  He is there providing our daily manna, often thanklessly, but oftentimes I know I have been guilty of taking it for granted.

On the other hand, it can be the presumptuous nature of our human intellect that can get in the way.  Despite our incredibly limited life span and finite world view, we can always see a better way.  Lord, if you can provide manna, surely you could slap a little tomato sauce on top and make some pizza, right?  Our prayer quickly turns to MY kingdom come, MY will be done.  But their attempts to turn God into their personal wilderness caterer backfired pretty spectacularly, as he became fed up with their incessant complaining and finally punished them by refusing to let them complete their voyage and enter the long-awaited promised land.  There is a stern warning carried here, and I know this challenged me to see the areas of my heart that were still yearning for those days in Egypt and realize how that looks to my Deliverer.

As a gamer, I realize that I have it pretty good.  Most of the experiences I have had surpassed my ability to imagine or create, and whether this year’s Madden is your first or twentieth it will be a quality release that may not have all the bells and whistles we want but it will be the only football game on the market.  That makes it the BEST football game on the market by default.  In a very similar way, God has a specifically designed path for each of us, and it won’t always feel like the yellow brick road.  Many times it takes us straight through the valley of the shadow of death, as David so eloquently puts it.  But it is the only path available to us that will take us to our destiny, and the choice to alter it does not exist. The manna may not be what we wanted or would have chosen , but His daily bread WILL sustain you.  He doesn’t do leftovers, and it is designed so that we have to lean on Him each and every morning to make it through another day.

If the hand you’ve been dealt doesn’t feel like the life you were promised, consider that you and I are still on the wilderness journey.  If the manna tastes a little flavorless, remember that this is just the trail mix sustaining us until we reach the destination.  And have faith… The fact that the manna appeared on the ground again today is proof that He knows right where you are, He is still with you, and you are still on your way!