Manna had come down to me while I was still a sinner. Manna provided a way for me to be saved when I couldn’t save myself. Manna satisfied the eternal longing I couldn’t feed. Manna was and is still enough for you and me.
I did not grow up in the church. In fact, the closest thing I had at home to Christ was a sticker on our shaggy door of Jesus on the cross, and my Momma's stories of God coming through for her in life.
Both me and my Mother believed in our hearts that God existed, but we did not live for him nor knew him.
I still remember vividly one day looking at that sticker and wondering- how did Jesus die for me when I wasn’t even alive yet?
My little heart knew very little about God’s plan of salvation through his Son, but I had developed an idea of how God was going to accept me into his heavenly dwelling. Based on my story it was good works and my sufferings.
The reality is this isn’t true. But friends, this is good news! It is good that it doesn’t depend on us. Redeeming, restoring, and freedom from sin are not found in our own wisdom, power, or strength, but in Jesus.
When I look back at my life, I realize I always tried to find my own way to redeem my story even when I had wrongfully suffered. (I could easily see others faults but not my own.)
To my poor upbringing, I attached the idea that if I became successful I would be somebody. To my struggling marriage, I added the idea of a new marriage. To my low-esteem as a woman, I added the idea of looking a certain way to be valued.
To my own sin, I added good works.
The result for all was the same.
I found myself in deeper darkness than I was in the beginning as my trust became plastered in deceit, false religion, and self- righteousness.
How was I to put my trust in God, and the finished work of Jesus on the cross? How was I to believe that God was not just in my life to fulfill dreams and desires, but to restore and free me from this dead-end salvation? How was I to know how Jesus dying for me would change my life?
In Hebrews 8:22-25, I found the written answer for the questions God answered in my heart. The NIV version says it this way, “Now there have been many of those priests and death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them”.
In my story, I found that every time I stepped into the physical sanctuary of my church, paid attention to the lyrics in the worship songs, and when I went to my church’s spiritual retreat, I found Jesus. I actually heard him speak directly to my pain, my sin, and my confusion.
Jesus is real, not a character from the past or a good old prophet. The priest still lives, and he lives to make himself known as the author of true life.
The people of Israel were fed miraculously with manna in the wilderness to sustain them, as they wandered and continually sinned against God.
The manna released from heaven was enough for each day and would not rot overnight when they were instructed to save it for the Sabbath, but this manna came to satisfy a physical desire, whilst Jesus has come to satisfy an internal longing.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 NIV
Jesus didn’t die for me to acknowledge my good, but to show me that only He is good. Jesus didn’t die for me to teach me how to earn my own salvation, but to help me rest in what he did.
Jesus did not come to set me free from all of my problems, he came so that I would be free from the root of my sin problem.
Jesus' death on the cross not only covered those that believed then, it covers all of those who believe now and those to come.
Heavenly Father, we are so grateful for your love and patience towards us.
Thank you for leading us graciously to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who gave himself up for us, so that we may have eternal life.
We put our trust in you, and pray that our works will bring you glory and honor so that many more will believe.
If someone who doesn’t know you is reading this, I pray that you may open their hearts to understand the great gift of salvation.
It is hard to understand it with just our minds, but you have the power to reveal it to our hearts. May this person be softened and grow curious to know you, and be found whole again. In Jesus name, Amen.
From my heart to yours ❤
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