Jesus Sweetens the Hard Times

Are you operating in "survival mode"? This devotion can help you focus on the gift of God's love in your life.

- Posted on Sep 27, 2013

Erin Keeley Marshall, Mornings with Jesus contributor

“Manna.... It tasted like honey.” Exodus 16:31 (NLT)

Ever wonder how “survival mode” got its bad name? Just try this experiment. Imagine yourself deep in the crush of stress (you may not have to pretend).

Now say, “Mmm... survival mode!” as if you’re tasting something delectable.... No good, right?

When we think of survival mode, we’re more apt to get an imaginary taste of disinfectant or shoe leather or the choking whiff of a vacuum cleaner bag than of a buttery croissant or a chocolate truffle. We don’t equate struggling to get by with the luxury of a rich delicacy.

My family is emerging from midlevel survival mode over the past few months. Suffice it to say, last year brought wonderful answers to prayer; but it delivered some whoppers as well. A stressful but welcome move, endless subcontractor projects, overwhelming job stresses, job changes, health issues, cold and flu season, more cold and flu season, copious co-pays, multiple prescriptions, etc. You’ve been there.

As I reflect on this season, I’m reminded of the ancient Israelites who were delivered from slavery... into the wilderness. Surely they felt like they’d traded one form of survival mode for another. But as I reread their story I noticed the Lord’s timeless faithfulness to refresh us. Namely, the provision of manna. Plain, white manna.

The Israelites lived on it for forty years. Not much of a delicacy... unless they looked beyond the unassuming flakes to see the heart of the One who provided it. Sweet like honey. Jesus’ sustenance reveals the sweetness of His love for us. His presence in our circumstances is oh, so sweet.

Nothing bitter or soapy or leathery or toxic about His care. He didn’t have to add sweetness to their survival mode. But He did. Trust His loving heart to sweeten yours as well.

Faith step: Ever heard that honey doesn’t expire? Just like Jesus’ love for you. Buy a small bottle for your pantry, and write on the front “Jesus sweetens survival.”

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