Day 12

Tuesday, March 2
Exodus 15:22-16:36 

I love grocery shopping. I love planning the meals, making a list of items and ordering them by store layout, hand selecting my produce, and indulging in impulse purchases (Aldi’s “special buys” are my kryptonite).

Before the pandemic hit, I was used to doing my grocery shopping in-person, at least one big trip per week, and I never hesitated to stop in to pick up one or two things as needed. Rarely was anything out of stock, and at worst, I might have to substitute with a different brand.

Then, we all know what happened. I hated using Instacart. Given how few and far between the available times were, I had to switch to a two-week grocery cycle, which meant I had to meal plan a lot further ahead, and often by the second week, there wasn’t much fresh food left. I had to substitute crucial items on my list because the store was out of stock. The excess fees and tips inflated my grocery budget. My produce was picked out by a stranger (ugh, those already-too-yellow bananas). And forget buying anything on impulse.

For the first few weeks, no one in my family complained. But, then it started. They didn’t want to eat pasta (again!), why hadn’t I foreseen their sudden craving for blueberry muffins and purchased them in bulk, and why did we have to eat leftovers… I was complicit in the complaining, cranky when my preferred coffee was out of stock and I had to drink another brand, frustrated that Taco Tuesday lacked the required guacamole because the avocados my shopper picked were underripe.

Like the Israelites in the desert, we were complaining about our manna and quail. We were concentrating on what we didn’t have rather than the obvious blessings God continued to show us daily. Every morning, God was showering us with enough manna to sustain us, and every evening there was enough quail to fill our bellies. We had access to Instacart and could afford the extra cost of having our groceries delivered. I am a pretty good home chef/baker and had no difficulty putting together cohesive, tasty meals everyday, despite the shortages and substitutions.

How quickly we seem to overlook God’s blessings in our day-to-day lives. Like ungrateful children, we complain when He doesn’t bless us to the full extent of our extravagant and selfish wants, forgetting that He’s provided everything we need to succeed and thrive in this world. It happens. We’re human, after all. But, the next time you find yourself complaining about what you don’t have, try and gain some perspective and thank God for the blessings He’s already given you. And before you complain that “this pandemic will never end!”,  just remember that the Israelites endured FORTY YEARS in the wilderness, eating nothing but manna and quail. Our God is at work, even now, in this wilderness.

Reflection by Amy Sanders

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