None us need Mac Davis to remind us that memories are tucked between the corners of our mind. Memories occupy a special place in our soul. Memories, like the smell of a fresh cut rose lingers in our mind, reminding us of another time and place. Some memories come with a degree of pain as we recall a moment of bitterness. The best memories offer the promise of a new day. Some hark back to the sage who reminds us that the darkest moments often come just before the dawn. It is these memories that sustain us and give us hope.
Faith is built on memories. The Exodus story a reminder, to both Jews and Christians alike, that while Pharaoh can come in all shapes and sizes, in the end, it is God who stands tall in the midst of adversity.
A favorite memory from the Exodus tradition is the story of manna from heaven. The slaves crossed into the wilderness and declared themselves free from Egyptian tyranny. Immediately they discovered being free isn’t everything they had imagined. In Egypt, where they were shackled, they also knew breakfast would be on the table. In the wilderness, their food was running out and with it their reliance on God. All that had left was their voice and my, oh my, did they complain. They screamed at Moses, “Did you and your God lead us out here into the wilderness just so we would die?” I am always amazed how quickly the Hebrews were ready to pack up the promise of freedom for the security of being a slave. At each turn in the road they would complain. The majority wanted to go back to
. I think if they could have figured out how to
re-cross the Red Sea many would have.
But there was no turning back.
They had to learn the hard way that when God makes a promise, God
fulfills that promise. Egypt
The Israelites were instructed each morning, just after the sun rose, the desert would sparkle with breakfast. Each person was to gather just enough “manna” to last one day. If they gathered too much, the leftovers would spoil. If they gathered it too late the sun would ruin it. If they didn’t gather it, they would go hungry. It wasn’t a great meal. It certainly lacked in variety. But it was enough to sustain folks until the next sunrise. They might not have gotten what they wanted, but they certainly got what they needed.
This story remains burned in the memories of the Hebrew people. The message, “God will provide”, was too simple to ever be forgotten. Can you think of a time when God has not provided? Oh maybe it wasn’t exactly what we wanted, but looking back, can you think of a time when God’s gifts have been lacking. The truth is we take the gifts of God for granted every day.
I had eggs for breakfast yesterday. Amazingly, I did not have to go out to the barn and retrieve them. In fact if memory serves me right those eggs found their way to my house over a week ago and they were still fresh. Can you imagine what my great grandparents would have given for fresh eggs and milk any morning they so desired them?
Before I left the house this morning, I checked my weather app to see what kind of day it was going to be. We have had four hurricanes blow our way in the past month. As deadly as they have been can you imagine what it would be like to not to know a hurricane was coming. Hurricane Harvey wrecked havoc upon the Texas coast. But everyone was warned to leave days in advance. 100 years ago 5,000 folks died in
because no one
knew the storm was coming. Galveston
Now you can say that refrigeration and apps on a phone are created by the inventiveness of the human mind. Or you might give credit where credit is due and believe that God gave us the ability to think. Every day I am amazed at the gifts of God that I just take for granted. Every step of my life, every triumph, every tragedy, every non-descript day, God has walked beside me, patted me on the back and lifted me up when necessary.
Of course too often we play the role of the confused Israelites in the desert. When things go bad, if the gas prices are high, if the stock market takes a plunge, we throw up our hands and scream to whoever might care to hear, “How could this happen? This is the worst day of my life. Send me back to
so I can die as a slave. Where are you God when I need you?” And ironically, we still have eggs in the
refrigerator, and I can still check out the weather on my app. Egypt
Think back for a moment. What was the worst day of your life? Perhaps a family member was diagnosed with a grave illness. Perhaps you lost a job. Perhaps it was 9-11. During that event, where was God?
What was the best day of your life? Perhaps it was a marriage or the birth of a child? Perhaps it was when your child achieved something remarkable? Perhaps it is anytime you wake up and don’t find your name in the obituary? Where was God?
Sometimes the presence of God is not apparent until days or maybe even years later. At times of birth, we are so busy counting toes we forget who is the author of life. At times of bereavement we are so busy drying tears we forget who conquered death. In times of crisis, we forget God has seen and responded to every crisis known to humankind.
Whether you are in the wilderness waiting for manna or in the midst of a confusing day waiting for relief, God is there, waiting to be acknowledged, waiting to be heard, and waiting to see if we will respond to God’s holy truth.
Each day we dare to wake up can become a memory validating that God is good.
Each day we dare to get out of bed can became a confirmation that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Every day we eat breakfast is an affirmation that God may not supply what we want but we do receive what we need.
Memories are not just tucked between the corners of our mind. Memories are the foundation of our faith. Each of us has experienced a miracle. Each of us has received a little manna. Think of the abundance of God’s grace and mercy in your life. Then give thanks. For God is good. God’s mercy is everlasting. To God be the glory. Amen.