“The only way to fight a feeling is with a feeling.” Ann Voskamp
“Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat!”
And the people cried to Moses because of the manna. Following God long through the desert, following Him to the beautiful land of promise, some of them lost the goal.
They never went hungry. They ate bread from heaven every day. But they cried over the monotony of heavenly bread and begged for meat. They lost sight of the miracle of manna. They turned up their noses to the heavenly bread and cried for meat.
My feet were sore and my heart was pounding from the exhaustion of rush hour traffic. We had spent the past 4 hours wandering from store to store…Christmas shopping, browsing, chatting, and enjoying being sisters and being together.
But somewhere in the midst of stop and go traffic and streetlights taking far too long, I lost sight of the gift. This gift of her and me. The gift us talking deep and long. The gift of together walking through stores till our legs ached and our feet throbbed.
I saw it as I was writing this story of thankless Israelites crying for meat into a Kids Church lesson. These truths, they are simple enough for a 3-year-old and yet my heart so easily forgets them. How often do I, like these Israelites, turn to God’s holy throne and beg for this earth when He’s given me heaven?
My life is filled with miracles, with grace gifts from my loving heavenly Father. And yet, I fail to recognize them. How often do I not only fail to thank Him for them, but do I outright throw the gift away in hopes of “something better”?
I barely got home in time to race back onto the crowded streets and head to a tutoring appointment. My mind was a battlefield dominated by anxious as I drove.
After a peaceful hour and a half of tutoring, I thought my heart had settled. But the moment I back into my car the battle reclaimed my mind. And just a few minutes down the road, in a swirl of anxious and helpless and desperate, I knew there was a choice. Because as Ann Voskamp points out, we can only feel one emotion at a time.
Thanks or stress
Thanks or anxious
Thanks or crying over manna…crying over a gift
My heart was angry and thankful and softened and broken as I read and wrote about those crying, whining Israelites.
Angry at their sin.
Thankful for the lesson.
Softened to God’s rebuke in my own heart.
Broken before a Savior I’ve so often spurned.
And God told Moses what He would do.
And God told Moses to trust and obey.
And God showed His power.
And God punished.
And God restored.
And I know that He will do whatever it takes to draw me back and to show me His blessings…just like He did with those ungrateful Israelites.
I’m good a rationalizing…at arguing a case for my stress. But this one time, I didn’t. I forced myself to thank Him instead.
To thank Him for the shopping.
To thank Him for the time.
To thank Him for long drives to talk.
To thank Him for her being her 3000 miles away from home, with us.
To thank Him for glowing headlights and orange streetlights and bright red brake lights and all the colors of neon storefront signs dancing in colorful patterns off the wet pavement.
And for as long as I keep listing the thanks, the anxious was gone. And the more gifts I thanked Him for the less important the crazy traffic and my sore feet seemed.
And fifteen minutes later the smell of spicy meat greeted my nose in our hallway and I nearly cried when I saw that my husband and sister had dinner ready and the kitchen clean so my tired feet could simply rest.
And He whispered gently to my teary heart, “See My goodness? It’s always there…always.”