Wild Hunger, Wild Hope

Exodus 16: 2-15

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.'” And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.

At some point the unleavened bread ran out. Every day without bread, every day without food in the wilderness, the pull of Egypt grew stronger for the former slaves. How could it not? At least there was something to put in the belly in Egypt. But here on the other side of the sea, there was only the barren landscape and pressing need. The Israelites’ hunger was inescapable and growing.

Hunger is something we know about. It is the experience of what we do not have. Hunger is emptiness, ache, uncertainty, and a question: will we find what we need to survive or will we die from our unmet needs? For millions across the planet, physical hunger is a daily companion. For every human being, physical hunger reveals the fear and vulnerability inherent within all types of hunger.

Will God provide?

When the Israelites couldn’t take it anymore, they complained to Moses and Aaron. “It would have been better if we had died in Egypt where at least we had food,” they said, “than for you to bring us out to the wilderness to kill us all from hunger.”

The wilderness, for the Israelites and for us, is a place of reckoning. Is God trustworthy and is God able? Is there security to be found beyond Pharaoh’s reign in Egypt? Will God provide what we need in those times and places where God alone has the power to meet us in our own wild hunger?

Faith believes that the answer is yes.

Moses told the people that God was listening. And as they turned their faces towards the wilderness, God’s glory shimmered forth in a cloud. The Lord spoke again, promising to answer the people’s hunger with bread from heaven.

Bread from heaven satisfies. Bread from heaven sustains life in the wilderness. We may not be able to explain or even to fully understand how God’s daily bread is enough when so many people lack for food in our world right now. But the promise stands. The Lord has spoken. In all our hungers, we can trust God.


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