Eyes of a Stranger: NEW, Post #9

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March 22, 2014 by Renee Griffin

“You EAT what you KNOW until you taste something NEW.”
The family was gathered up at the bar in the kitchen inhaling, I mean enjoying, sloppy joes.  I had been chopping and sauteing for an hour to get my concoction just right.  My efforts were paying off as I stood back and watched their expressions.

Dinner was good.

As the compliments came, I commented that my dish was loaded with fresh veggies and that element combined with the sauteing made all the difference.

My middle child says…”there’s veggies in here???”

LOL. Ummm…yes.   There are real live veggies in there.

We all had a chuckle, and I made an offhand remark that these sloppy joes weren’t from a can.  Pre made foods of any sort are considered a slur in my kitchen. I like to cook from scratch.  You can make anything if you have onions and garlic.  They are the foods of heaven.

The hubs tells the kids that the only sloppy joes he’d ever had growing up we’re from a can.  (For the record, his mom is THE most incredible cook!  Her biscuits are indescribable and her Sweet Cream cake is all kinds of worth going into a sugar coma.)

“Ewww… disgusting!”, the kids all agreed.  As they were feigning shock and culinary superiority over my husband’s challenging upbringing regarding sloppy joes, (while knowing full well that Nana’s table is one of their favorite places in all the world to eat)….I made another quick comment.

“You EAT what you KNOW until you taste something NEW.”

The words had slipped out so easily that the spiritual meaning appeared with a delay.  I knew as soon as I said it that I must write it down.

“You EAT what you KNOW until you taste something NEW.”

Hmmm…
I took in the words as I wrote them on a sticky note (which is my favorite way to keep up with ideas).
In my spiritual life, God had been doing some new things.  He’d been showing me in fresh new ways to take in the Words from His book.  The Lord and I had been digging deep, and I was getting spiritual food lately that I have never tasted before.  It was new and it was good.

That phrase sparked more new spiritual food as the Holy Spirit guided me to study several chapters in Exodus.

Moses was leading the Israelites out of the slavery in Egypt. They had walked through a miracle in the parting of the Red Sea, but now they were in the Desert of Shur. (ch.15)  They had seen mighty moves of God, and yet the hunger and thirst of their physical bodies began to move them to take their eyes off Him.  They started to grumble.  So they get to Marah, the water is bitter, God does another miracle and satisfies their thirst.

I used to read this and say…dang, people.  You walked through walls of water in the Red Sea and you are still complaining?!?!

Used to…  The truth is I can’t go a day without coffee.  I wouldn’t have lasted a minute thirsty in a hot, arid desert.  I would’ve been one of the loudest fussers of the group.

Thirst is tough.

Now it has been 15 days since they came out of Egypt, Ex. 16, and real, body wracking hunger has kicked in.  Adrenaline from fleeing may have waned a bit, and now the hunger pains turned up the volume.  As we say in the south, they got hongry!

The grumbling fires up again.  They were so hungry that scripture says in verse 3 that they said they’d rather go back to full stomachs in slavery than starve to death in freedom.  No one I know has ever been that hungry.

Moses, God’s man on the scene, does what he always did and cries out to The Lord, and The Lord feeds them.

4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.
5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt,
7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?”
8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD.”
9 Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the LORD, for he has heard your grumbling.’ “
10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud.
11 The LORD said to Moses,
12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’ “
13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.
14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.
15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.
To summarize the passage above, this is what I see happened.  The Israelites were on this incredible journey of deliverance from their past of slavery.  God was leading them every step through Moses.  They had seen miracles, but they were still humans.  (hope for us all right there)  They fussed and took their eyes off of God.  (more hope) Moses continued to set the example before them of keeping your eyes on God, and God provided a table for them in the desert.

Now, the part that God revealed to me a few weeks ago focuses on the food He provided.

He sent quail to down from the sky and it “covered the camp” in the evening.  He gave them meat.  When you are hungry, physically hungry, meat would be enough to satisfy.

But God is more than enough.  He gave them a meat that they would know, and He met their physical hunger, but He gave them something else, too.

He created a NEW food.

When they woke up that next morning, a dew was on the ground.  As the heat grew in this desert place and the dew vanished, “thin flakes like frost” were left.  It was so NEW to them that they had to ask…”What is it?”
  
Moses tells them The Lord has given them bread.

The Bread of Life has given them bread.

I have to put v. 12 here a second time.
“At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.”

God told Moses to tell them they would get bellies full of meat at night, but in the morning???  In the morning, I am going to do something NEW.  I am going to FILL you with bread.  And then???  Then “you will KNOW that I Am the LORD.”

Oh me… I could just have a hallelujah fit right here now.

He was saying this I think. You have been eating what you know and it is good to satisfy your needs where you are now.  But… I am taking you somewhere NEW and that NEW place in your journey is going to require some NEW food.

Glory.

“You EAT what you KNOW until you taste something NEW.”

When they tasted these dew producing flakes  on the floor of the desert, they called it “manna”.

16:31b.”It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.”

My notes down in the commentary of my NIV bible say this… “No naturally occurring substance fits all the data of the text, and several factors suggest that manna was in fact the LORD’s unique provision for His people in the desert.  The meaning of the Hebrew word for “manna” suggests that it was something unknown by the people at that time.”

Yes, Lord.

A NEW food had appeared on the floor of the desert.

When they were empty, He had provided.

Now if they had refused to eat it because they had never seen it before or it wasn’t part of their plan, they would’ve most likely had their hunger need met but not their soul’s need.

When I left off in Light in the Darkness, my husband was on his way to meet my birthfather.  I had enough sense to know that I was still too raw emotionally to judge whether or not this man was someone I wanted in my life.  My husband is the one I trust to protect me like that so he went to my birthfather’s door.

The house was brick with reddish type trim.  My birthfather was living there alone so my hubby’s visit was a welcome event.  Inside the house, my husband came face to face with a man his same height who had 20 years worth of long hair, and green eyes. The air was heavy with smoke and questions.

Over the 48 hours or so since I had spoken with my birthfather, hope had begin to grow in him.

While shocked of course, he was beginning to hope that this girl who called was really his daughter.  I’d come to know his heart later on and like him, I get drawn in quickly.

Their visit was a good one.  Two grown men were sizing up the other trying get answers to questions and make sense of the situation.  I know my hubby wanted to make sure he wasn’t some nut that would put me in danger. Once they both felt satisfied to some degree, they ended their meeting.

Again, another long phone call took place between the hubs and me.  He gave me his assessment of this stranger who was my birthfather.  I don’t remember exactly what he said, and after all this time, neither does he.  I may have some notes somewhere, but I can’t put my finger on them today. What I do remember from his summary was how sad his life sounded to me.  He didn’t try to make it sound that way.  It was just the facts of his life.

Here I was living life with a beautiful family of my own.  I have a sister and her family.  I have my parents and their families full of aunts and uncles and cousins galore.  My life was full of loved ones.  The opposite was true for this man.  He never had a brother or sister.  His relationship with his dad was not a script from the Hallmark channel.  He was very close to his mom, but the physical ailments they both suffered prevented them from staying close.  He was being cared for by an ex-wife who wasn’t really happy that I showed up on the scene.  He had one other friend who lived in a another town that came to visit occasionally, but mostly he just sat alone in his house.

Can you imagine that?

Day after day after day??  You are stranded all alone in your house.  You can’t drive so you can’t leave.  You can barely see, so you can’t go for a walk.  No way out without help.

Now I am one of those types who cannot take the suffering of the discarded or mistreated or empty.  Can. not. take. it.  And I can’t take hungry children either.  I don’t care much about the why or if they deserve it…  I know there are all kinds of circumstances and situations, but a lonely, empty, blind man with really nobody to be IN his life to love on him?

Ummm, no…

And when you factor in that he is MY birthfather????

My flesh and blood?
My family?????
My heart could not take it.

Of course I wanted to hear all his stories and know who he was then and who was in the now, but as far as deciding whether or not he deserved to be in my life because I hadn’t plannned for him???  No.

All those plans flew right off the table once his current sitatuation became clear.

I knew this was God.

Scriptures say that God told the Israelites that when they ate the bread that He would rain down from Heaven that they would “KNOW I Am the LORD.”

He was telling that them something NEW was about to happen and there would be NO OTHER explanation.

Only God could send a new food down in a new form and they would have to ask…”What is it?”

Only God does stuff like that.

So this new person who had come into my life was someone that I didn’t ask for, but God put him in.

As I prayed and questioned the next events, I would ask God, “What is going on? What are You doing here?”  I knew there were not good feelings between my birthmother and my birthfather.  I am thinking, “Whoa, God, what are trying to do here?  I do not want to be a part of what happened between them. That has nothing to do with me.  I just want to know them.  And God, won’t bringing him in wreck what I had going with her? Yes, I know that is over God, but still… What are You doing? This makes no sense God.  This is NEW!!! I don’t understand, God.”

Like the Israelites, God sent a new thing in but He himself didn’t give it a specific name other than bread.  They named it themselves.  The only direction He gave them was the same one He gave me…

He was telling me to trust Him.

He was saying to trust Him through the gift of the new food in their lives and the new person in mine.

And He did these new things so that neither they nor I could take any credit for what was happening.

I didn’t fully understand why He brought my birthfather in until one year later.

During that year, God gave me glimpses of His plan, but not the full scope.  For the present moment, all I could know about this new man was that he existed, he had a name, and he was a new path for me to follow.  The door had closed with my birthmother so I was able to give him my full attention.

So, I did.

Later on in the week, the hubs went back to the little brick house, to deliver a few pictures to my birthfather.  Of course he wanted to see me.  He could get glimpses of images if he focused intently and moved his eyes back and forth side to side.  He told me later that I would literally be one of the last things he would see on this earth.

*tears*  

Okay…I’m back…
Pictures in his hand, focusing hard, he could see me for the first time.  When he saw me, he saw himself.  He looked into the paper eyes of a stranger and he knew it was true.

He knew.

There’s one more thing that you need to know about this visit before I wind up this post.  When my birthfather greeted my husband on their 2nd visit, he wasn’t the same.

The old, scraggly hair and unkempt appearance from days prior had vanished.  He had arranged to be taken to a barber shop and he got cleaned up.  Twenty years of hair…gone.  Fresh and cleaned up, in pressed nice attire, he looked like a new man.

Oh, Jesus… *tears again***

You see???

God had done something NEW in his life too!

He had a life that was empty, and now it was full.

He hadn’t even laid eyes on me yet, he had only heard my voice, but he knew his life had changed.

New…

I praise You Lord for allowing me to go back and find my birthfamily! I am so thankful that I didn’t turn away from the NEW.  Although it was new to me, it wasn’t new to God.  This man was just another piece of my journey along the path where God was taking me.  This plan God designed for me has been in place since the foundation of the world.  This new piece was a part of the purpose He has assigned to my life.  It was His plan that I talk to and meet and invite in and accept this man.

It wasn’t and isn’t ever my job to evaluate and decide whether or not he was worthy.  My job was to take in what was new, and let God fill my life the way He chose.

If I had kept refused to accept this new thing, I would have missed the blessing of the next thing.

God placed this man in my life at just the right time.

When I was broken and empty, He provided a new thing.  Because it wasn’t my thing, He gets the Glory.
  

If God brings something new into your life, be careful not to discard it because it you don’t recognize it.

If the Israelites had only eaten the meat of the quail that they did recognize, they would have missed the bread that they didn’t recognize.

When they asked Moses, “What is it?” in verses 15-16, he replied by telling them for each one to “gather as MUCH as he needs.”

Oh, glory…

When God provides, He supplies as much as you NEED.

I can hardly contain myself right now.  Oh, Jesus to trust You MORE!

He gave them a new thing in the middle of a desert place and said take all you need.  He fed their stomachs and satisfied their souls in a new way so that only He would get the glory and they would KNOW that He was God.

Friend, the love and mercy and grace of God never runs out.

For His Children, He has plans designed that will bring new things into your life.  In Him, there will always be abundant provisions no matter where you are.  When you are empty, look to Him to fill you and trust Him to do it His way.

In the next post I will begin to tell about my birthfather, and I can’t wait to see what God will have me write.  Until then, I have a challenge for you.

Today, this week, wherever you are at this point in your life… Keep your eyes open…God is doing something new in you.  Look for it…I dare you.  🙂

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