His mother sighed. “Yahweh has provided manna for us; it comes from God’s very hand.”
“But I’m tired of manna. It’s all we ever have, and it’s not very filling.”
Again the mother’s sigh. “You sound just like your father, always wanting what you do not have.”
The Old Testament Israelites did their university training in the wilderness for 40 years; perhaps they could have finished earlier, but they kept retaking the same class: Contentment 101. Moses gives us a peak back at the course work in Deuteronomy 8.
Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut. 8:3, NLT)
Reading that passage recently I was drawn to the phrase “by letting you go hungry.” God let them hunger that they might learn to look to him and have their deepest longings met. You see, there is something more to live for than to silence your stomachs growling.
I have desires that are unmet. I’m betting you do too. What if we began to view our unsatisfied wants as opportunities to turn to God and trust him? What if, instead of complaining, the Jewish dad had taught his son that man does not live by bread alone? What if the son had seen a smile of knowing contentment on his father’s face even though the unmet desires remained? What if my sons heard in their dad’s voice the simple confidence that God knows best? What if they could never remember their father complaining? They can’t. But, by God’s grace, I can change that. So can you.
What if God has withheld from you the very thing you desire the most so that you might find your satisfaction in him alone? That’s the way you pass Contentment 101 even though you still have those nagging hunger pains.