The day the manna stopped

Dec 8, 2020 | 0 comments

See if this resonates with you. I like to know what’s coming down the pike. I like to see around the corner. I like to know what’s for dinner . . . even in wilderness seasons.

The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.” Joshua 5:11-12

I notice something from this passage which seems to be true about most transition seasons: they are opportunities to trust God when resources we’ve come to depend on are no longer part of our lives. But trusting can be difficult to do when we can’t see the path forward or envision the ideal future we long for. Wilderness transitions are like that. We struggle to believe. We imagine worst-case scenarios.

What if my support dries up? What if I let go of this dependable paycheck in order to launch this dream, and God doesn’t come through? What if someone in our family experiences a health crisis while in the middle of this transition?

Transition seasons challenge our ability to trust for daily provision, especially when the only thing it seems we can do is wait. I work with multiple clients who struggle with trusting as they navigate this messy middle, having lost one dependable source of income while waiting for something else to replace it. And the losses are not only financial. It can be loss of community, organizational ties, housing…you name it!

Manna represents God’s desire and ability to care for and sustain his children in wilderness seasons…miraculously. The Israelites experienced 40 years in the desert…a long season defined by the miraculous. Talk about prolonged transition! During this time, God provided a fresh, daily supply of manna (sort of like bread) from heaven to sustain them. There were other ways He provided as well. He caused the sandals on their feet to not wear out. He gave them water from a rock on more than one occasion. He led them through the desert by means of a pillar of cloud by day (shade and protection) and a pillar of fire by night to light their way (guidance).

Finally, after a generation had passed, they crossed the Jordan River and were standing on the other side (think successful transition, phase 1). Suddenly, the flow of manna stopped and seamlessly a new source of provision came through. Did I say seamlessly? Yes, God’s provision can be seamless in transition seasons when we understand the depth and breadth of his care.

Here are 3 things to know when it comes to experiencing seamless provision in times of transition:

1. Seamless provision is not measured merely in monetary terms. As I look back on those in-between seasons of my life when money was scarce, I can truly thank God for the many other ways he seamlessly provided. He blessed my family with good health during times when a large dentist or medical bill would have been devastating. Unexpected gifts have come from unexpected sources, causing me to thank God not only for the provision itself, but for the people through whom it came. He’s given me peace and courage to press on when I’ve been tempted to take the easy way out instead of staying on a more rewarding, albeit a more difficult path

2. Seamless provision does not mean the absence of scarcity. Resources can become scarce when things are shifting. Previous wells dry up, requiring us to dig new ones. While traversing the desert, the Israelites did not feast on pots of meat every day like they did in Egypt. It was a lean and prolonged season. Lean because of the environment; prolonged, at least in part, due to their disobedience. Nonetheless, God met their needs through hostile places and uncertain times. He can do the same for us.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. – Isaiah 42:1

3. Seamless provision is actualized one step at a time. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan and ate their first meal from the produce of the promised land, they had no idea that the manna would not be waiting for them to gather outside their tents the next morning. It was a sudden shift in provision following a long journey, made possible by a step of faith in harmony with God’s mysterious and perfect plan. It was seamless as long as they kept moving forward, in step with God’s plan. They would soon face the next step of faith as they approached the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6).

As I like to say, “Transition is less about big leaps and more about a sequence of steps. It’s less of a one-time event and more about process.”

What do you need today to embrace and engage this transition season you’re in? What shift in perspective do you need in order to move through a transition of seamless provision?

P.S.  Don’t lose heart if you’re in a season of loss or lack. Provision is waiting on the other side. Clarity is around the corner. You are in the messy middle! God has not forgotten you.

This Advent we have two presents for you: (1) 5 Ways to Meet Jesus This Advent – a PDF you can print out and hang in your home with ideas to meet Jesus in Advent. AND (2) the final days of Advent (December 17-23) we have a special present for you! Those final days of Advent are called the O Antiphons and are captured in the song “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” Each day (and verse in the song) focuses on a title of Christ and helps to remember who and what we are waiting for. We are partnering with The Invitation Project for a special version of the song which is being recorded this week. Each day you will receive a short email with that day’s O Antiphon, a verse to meditate on it, and music to sing with. I cannot wait for you to get this gift . . . but I have to. Even though you can’t open this gift yet, you can get on the waiting list here.

Photo by Victor Rodríguez Iglesias on Unsplash 

Tim Austin

Husband of one. Father of three. Coach. Podcaster. Cross-cultural worker.




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