The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God’” (Exodus 16:11-12).

Those who know me well will attest to my love of delicious, freshly baked bread, especially when it has come out of the oven not long before going into my mouth. I have been known to eat my portion (and then some) of bread not with my meal but before I’ve even taken a bite of the salad or entree. And for as much as I love dessert,  freshly baked bread or rolls is still #1 on my list of favorite foods.

The other day I stopped at Panera for dinner. It was my first time there in two+ years. I was looking forward to the strawberry poppyseed salad. But what I was most looking forward to – you guessed it – was the fresh baguette that I selected as my side. My mouth was watering just thinking about it. But when my food arrived, I struggled to tear off a piece of the bread. It wasn’t nearly as soft as it should be! In fact, it was tough. I took a bite and to my deep disappointment discovered that the bread was also somewhat stale. 

My salad was delicious. Nevertheless, instead of giving thanks for the fresh greens and sweet, juicy berries, I found myself stewing over my stale baguette, silently complaining that for the price I had to pay for my meal, it surely wasn’t too much to ask for fresh bread. I contemplated bringing the baguette up to the counter and asking for a replacement. But thankfully, before I got up from my chair, I suddenly became aware of my pettiness. Here I was, whining about bread that wasn’t up to par when so many others in this world would be overjoyed and filled with gratitude to have even a tough, stale piece of bread to fill their empty stomach. 

Whenever I read the stories of God’s people on their 40-year journey through the wilderness, I find myself shaking my head at how whiney and grumpy and outright rebellious the people are. This is how they behave after God has repeatedly rescued them and provided for them? And then I remember that I am no different. God’s abundant gifts have come to me day after day my whole life long, and yet I complain about a slightly stale baguette. 

I suspect you might be able to relate to my story on some level. If so, take heart. Because the good news for all of us is that despite our whininess and grumpiness and rebelliousness, God’s graciousness always prevails. 

Merciful God, even our ungrateful hearts cannot change your deep and abiding love for us. Thank you for giving us our daily bread, and for including a large helping of forgiveness as part of your provision. Amen.

Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, contact Pastor Peter.