Ordinarily, my day begins when my alarm clock wakes me. After pressing snooze one (or three) times, I get myself ready for the day ahead. I wake my two children, feed them breakfast, and make sure they are adequately dressed. My husband leaves the house to go to work. I leave, too–commuting to my job in the nearby town. And, our children leave to attend school.
We come home at the end of our day to homework, piano lessons, laundry, and cleaning. As the sun sets, we gather around our table for dinner. We pray and read Scripture together. We go about our evening activities. And, eventually, we go to sleep in anticipation of a new day ahead.
Not much thought goes into our ordinary day. We wake. We eat. We work. We return home and eat together. We play. We rest. This is our life together. This is our rhythm.
For the people in the wilderness, nothing was ordinary. For hundreds of years the Egyptians held the Israelites as slaves. As much as they hated being in captivity, this had been their ordinary life in a not-so-ordinary situation. Freed from their bondage and now living in their life of wandering in the wilderness, nothing was routine to them. Their ordinary was gone.
When life brings too many unknowns, we wish for the life we had before–for the familiar. We thrive in the ordinary.
The Lord, Yahweh, heard their cries and complaints. They longed to return to the land of Egypt, where they could sit by their pots and have their fill of bread. Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, the Provider gives them a familiar ordinary with an abundance of food–food that rains down from heaven faithfully for six days out of the week. A new rhythm is started, despite the circumstances they find themselves in. The Creator provides in the extraordinary, like the crossing of the Red Sea, and God provides in the ordinary with daily bread. The Lord is present in their waking in the morning, in their walking in the wilderness, and in their slumber in the night. God is present in the food they will eat. Our God provides.
Terrance E. Fretheim explains, “God’s gifts for Israel are to be found not only in the unusual but also in the everyday. If the provisions of God in the wilderness are all subsumed under the extraordinary or miraculous, then the people of God will tend to look for God’s providential care only in that which falls outside of the ordinary.”1 Are you aware of God’s providential care in the ordinary moments of your day?
In all reality, our ordinary days aren’t actually too ordinary. God’s miraculous hand provides for us every morning as the sun wakes us in the east. Throughout the day (and night), our Sustainer provides for us–in shelter and food, in our work and in our play, and in our relationships with one another. Day in and day out, God is present–continuously providing, sustaining, and re-creating. The extraordinary God is found in the ordinary moments of the day.
Regretfully, I am not always fully aware of God’s work around me. Yes, I can look back at see God in the big things–in the just missed car accident, the shielding from disease, or the peace given in anxious times. However, I’m not always fully aware of God’s work in the little details of my day. The fact that I wake up every morning is a miracle in itself! The ability to shower with warm, clean, safe water is gift. And, the food I make for myself or my family should not be taken for granted. The beauty of the sunset over the barren winter Iowa land can be breathtaking. The Provider shows us ways that we are loved, nurtured, and cared for every single moment of the day. Our God provides.
How are you aware of God’s sustaining care for you in your normal, everyday life?
Are you watching for God at work?
How do you give glory and honor to the Creator throughout your day and in your night?
Fretheim, Terrace E., Interpretation: Exodus (John Knox Press, 191) 181-182. ↩