On Mondays, I usually begin to write my blog post for that Friday. Most weeks, I have an idea about the topic of my essay and can promptly start writing, but sometimes, I don’t. In my ideal world, I would have my writing topics planned out for several weeks, months even. That’s not the way writing works for me, and normally, that’s fine because I find inspiration consistently in everyday events and conversations. But I start to panic a little if I still haven’t figured out what to write by the time Wednesday rolls around. While I always pray about my essays, when I am at a loss about what to write, I find myself turning to God with more urgency asking, “God, I need help. What do you want me to write this week?”
So, even though my lack of imagination frustrates me when it occurs, I can celebrate that it leads me to lean more heavily on God. I’m reminded of the Israelites wandering in the desert when God provided bread from heaven that they called manna. Every morning the people gathered only the amount of manna they needed for that day. If they collected more than they needed and tried to save it for the next day, the manna spoiled and rotted. Only on the day before the Sabbath could they collect enough to last them two days, so they did not have to work on their day of rest (Exodus 16).
I wonder if this set up annoyed any of the Israelite women. I bet they would’ve enjoyed getting ahead of the required cooking occasionally. They couldn’t bake an extra cake or boil enough for leftovers. Instead, they depended on God to provide every single day. God reminded them every morning that they needed to look to him for help and support.
As I recalled the story of manna, I thought about how Jesus included the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread” when he taught the disciples the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:11). When I go to the grocery store, I don’t buy only what I need for that day. I live in the suburbs and drive a minivan, so I load my cart up with at least half a week’s worth of items. I don’t always give much thought about the ways God engages in the smallest details of my daily life. And yet, I depend greatly on God for all my needs.
God gave the Israelites what they needed when they needed it, and Jesus told us to ask for daily help as well. When we pray, we should ask God to help us with the mental, emotional, and physical things we need to make it through the day. My writing life reminds me to turn to God when I am at a loss. Let us learn to pray for God’s sustenance in all areas of our lives, not only when we find ourselves lacking, but on a daily basis.