Tuesday, February 10, 2009

101 Ways to Cook Manna

I found myself with a somewhat unfamiliar feeling this past week. I had a wonky glitch in my belly and my puzzler was puzzling to figure it out until I uncovered its source.

I felt - good. Downright giddy.


I wondered if I should quickly knock on wood, or wish on a star, or twirl around three times and spit widdershins a la The Scottish Play curse just in case.

See, I made the mistake on Saturday of opening my renewal policy for the auto insurance. While I've long since determined that I will not be afraid of opening potentially dodgy envelopes, I've learned this can be self-defeating on the weekends as whatever may be found lurking in the depths of such envelopes cannot be sorted out until Monday morning. That leaves two full nights of worry and sleeplessness to surmount where a happy ignorance would have allowed peaceful rest - theoretically.

Lurking in this particular package was a substantial and wholly unexpected increase to our premium. Our car insurance was blessedly significantly reduced when we moved last August, but two outstanding accidents from 2007 and early 2008 (I feel compelled here to caveat that these were not my accidents) have only now been accrued to the policy. Hence the increase, I thought.

When contacted on Monday, my agent confirmed this assumption on my part and added that our Tier level had correspondingly been raised, which never portends good things. He offered to write a new policy with a different company and see if our numbers improved, but though I agreed, I had little hope for success. So I set to figuring out how we'd counter the increase;
it's in my nature to immediately search for ways to solve a problem. A freelance gig a month would nearly make up the difference, but there's no regularity to how and when those jobs roll in. I also thought of my delayed potential promotion and how a resolution there might smooth this financial hiccup. But though grateful for these options, both of which are beyond my control, I was frustrated to think how the funds I'd been anticipating for so long would now simply plug another hole, not repave the entire lot.


This seems to be par for the course in my life. My family and I have always been provided for in one way or another from big things to small. A random check in the mail when the bank account is empty, a timely invitation to dinner, a kind car repossesser who agrees to look the other way for the weekend, $10.02 in my wallet when $10.01 was needed for the bill, a job beyond expectation after months of unemployment. Whatever shape or form, Jehovah Jireh has paved the way with exactly what was needed. It's an amazing thing to witness and to benefit from. But in my human failing, I've often wondered why it's only ever just what I need. Why it's never more.

How ungrateful of me, I know. It's a bit like the Israelites in the wilderness when the Lord provided manna for their hungry bellies. At first it was Food From the Sky! Hallelujah! Right? Then after a few weeks, I imagine there were more than a few wry glances at the sky asking "You got any butter with that?"

Sidebar: Fun fact: man-na actually translates literally into "What is it?" That nugget of knowledge is courtesy of Old Testament Theology at Gordon College. Go Doc Wilson!

I feel for the Israelites in this. When fleeing from Egypt, I doubt they thought to pack the 101 Ways to Cook Manna cookbook. And, to be fair, over time the palate gets bored. I'm guessing it's hard enough to lighten up unleavened bread as it is. But the lesson taught is one of ungratefulness, of a people who complained and strayed from the Lord because they were unsatisfied with food falling from the sky. It's that pesky human failing, that ingrained ingratitude, the compulsion to demand more from a miracle that always trips us up. Even today, if we had food fall on us from above, we'd likely be looking for a leaky airliner or dodgy weather and having News at 11 reports for a week on the lax regulations for airline food transportation or the newest natural disaster. We probably wouldn't immediately lean towards divine provision. We wouldn't automatically think to be grateful.

But isn't that exactly what we need? In today's climate, when a secure position is an anathema and each day bears witness to another casualty of unprecedented greed, we need to appreciate what we have and what the Lord continues to provide more than ever. A hundred and one ways to be grateful, a hundred and one ways to be thankful, a hundred and one ways to appreciate our families and our lives and our communities and just how much work and faith have been put into it all. A hundred and one ways to use God's provision abundantly regardless of a wonky somewhat petulant spirit (that would be me BTW). A hundred and one ways to cook manna.

And then He gave me more.

On Thursday, my agent sent me the rewritten auto insurance policy. It's a financial boon for us without sacrificing a bit of coverage. O
ther things beyond just a company switch offset the addition of the accidents and actually work to our advantage. I'm still amazed at the vast difference (it's staggering) and am speechlessly grateful that my wonky spirit was proved wrong - again. This was the source of my good feeling, my near giddy, gun shy contentment. Ready for the best part? The money I already have in hand for the original policy renewal is more than enough for the premium on the new one.

More than enough.

Guess what's back on the menu now?

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