Last time I wrote (too long ago) we were on the verge of a six month trip to America. That is over and done and I still have a lot of mental unpacking to do. The current chunk of thought I am processing came from the Biblical story in Numbers 11. The Israelites, sick of manna, started complaining that they wanted meat. So God promised them that they would have meat “until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it.” Of course they scoffed and of course God delivered because He can. So much quail flew (or were blown?) in from the sea, flying so low that you could just reach up and grab one out of the air. At least that’s how I read it as a kid. Either way, lots of meat. “But while the meat was still between their teeth” they were struck with a plague and some of them died. So when they buried those people, they named the place “Kibroth Hattaavah.” Graves of craving.
First of all, I’d like to make clear that America did not come out of my nostrils. I don’t loathe it. But the rest of the story speaks so clearly to my situation that I have been pondering it continuously for the last couple of weeks. I spent a lot of time living in Europe craving certain things that America can provide. Easier grocery shopping trips. Cheaper clothes. Babysitting from grandparents. Mint Oreos. English all around me. Family. Sunnier days. The list goes on and on. The thing about me and about the Israelites is that our craving for things we thought we wanted blinded us to the miracles God was already doing. Manna! What is that?! A miracle of food delivered daily (except not on the Sabbath) to thousands of people. The only way to not be satisfied with something so amazing is to be greedy for something else.
Craving is greed. All those things I craved about America were an active dismissal of the things I already had, a glaring sign to God and those around me that I was not appreciating my daily manna, the miracles God was showering me with all the time. I’m still trying to open my eyes to all these blessings – a testimony to how badly dissatisfaction blunted my sight.
All those things I craved, I had in abundance in America. Six months of it. While no plague hit me, thankfully, I wonder if there is a spiritual plague that comes with this. When my cravings were finally gratified, they had no taste. Because I had taught myself to be dissatisfied with what I have. When we teach ourselves to complain, we will complain in any circumstances. How could I enjoy quail when I wasn’t satisfied with the miracle of manna? Graves of craving. Craving kills satisfaction with anything. And those graves of craving became a monument to me of my foolishness.
So my task now is to see the manna. To desire knowing God, not to reject Him by craving for more than what He’s given me today. To stop drooling over the thought of meat – because it won’t ever taste as good as the manna. Today’s blessings will always top any granted wish. Besides, it’s ridiculous of me to think I know what’s better for me than God does.