On Sunday I shared a few thoughts from a book I’ve started reading, ‘God does his best work with empty’, by Nancy Guthrie. I’ve only read the first two chapters so far, but it’s one of those books where you could quote almost every sentence!
Julie prompted my thoughts by sharing John 1:16, 'Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.' This reminded me of a section in the book talking about the Israelites in the desert after God had rescued them from Egypt. They spent 40 years wandering the desert before they came to the Promised Land, and quickly lost sight of the how bad things were when they were slaves back in Egypt. They began wishing they were back there – at least there they had food (Exodus 16v3). The author of the book uses this to demonstrate the difference between cravings and need, and how easy it is to confuse the two. The Israelites let their craving colour their view of everything else and lost perspective.
After a while of complaining, God provided his people with bread that fell from heaven every morning: manna. However, He was clear that they should take enough for that day only – not store it up for following days, demonstrating that they trusted God to provide for tomorrow.
‘God did not intend for their wilderness years to be wasted years. He intended for them to learn that he could be trusted to provide for his own.’
I wondered if this principle might be a challenge during lockdown. Lockdown in winter certainly feels like a bit of a wilderness! There is a lot that we could grumble about, but there is also an opportunity:
‘God is strengthening you by forcing you to reckon with the inability of the things of this world to fill you up and their tendency, instead, to enslave you. God is seeking to retrain your appetite toward what you really need, what will truly satisfy and sustain you, what will infuse your life with lasting significance.’
Can we use the ‘wilderness’ of this lockdown to work out the difference between craving and need, and then trust that God will provide what we need for each day?
____________________________________  ‘God does his best work with empty’ by Nancy Guthrie, Tyndale House Publishers, 2020