“Maybe the God who offered everything, at the same time demanded everything..” — Frederick Buechner

Deuteronomy 8:1-18
John 6
Psalm 78

As a kid, I loved the book, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” I loved its vertically rectangular cover that opened to reveal an enticing world of possibility. I loved the sketch drawings that evoked vivid wonder.

The land of Chewandswallow existed many oceans and expansive deserts away. In that utopia, the townspeople never visited the grocery store. Restaurants had no menus nor roofs and supplied only plates and utensils to their patrons. In that town, the food fell from the sky three times a day. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Meteorologists forecasted meals instead of precipitation. “Cloudy with a chance of meatballs.” “Sunny with a pea soup fog in the morning and hamburger clouds descending in the afternoon.”

My mind reeled with the suggestion of such a place. I turned each page with an excitement, curious and intrigued by what type of culinary precipitation was yet to come. Until one day when the weather went awry.

Overcooked broccoli rained down for days. An inundation of syrup flooded the city streets. A giant pancake buried the library. Officials canceled school. With childhood terror I turned page after page of Chewandswallow destruction. Chewandswallow was lost in excess.

I am similarly lost in excess. I am lost in the façade of preparation and control. Food lines the refrigerator. I am ready, dependent on whims and whimsies of nothing and no one.

And as I grew up and the mystique of Chewandswallow faded, I determined that those people lived a confined existence. They lacked control, unable to choose their daily meal.

But what does this supposed control give me? Freedom? Or just its appearance?

Perhaps they lived in freedom, freedom to trust and freedom from the details and minutiae of sustenance. Perhaps I too have this choice, not to wait expectantly with my cereal bowl and spoon in the front yard at sunrise, waiting for a shower of Cheerios and a sprinkling of milk, but in my life to choose freedom of faith instead of control.

Food fell from the sky years ago. The Israelites wandered in the desert, exiles walking toward a yet-unseen promised land. And God sustained them. In desolate wilderness, he rained down manna every morning and every night. It arrived consistently, and the people still feared. They feared it would not come.

Then they chose control. They hoarded the manna, stashing it away in tent corners.

The manna rotted. Maggots teemed on the once heavenly provision.

God gives us enough for today. Tomorrow more will arrive. So why do I doubt?

Do I believe in daily provision?
Do I choose freedom or control?  How? Why?
Why is it hard to trust? 


© 2006