Our family tried a Gluten-free diet for the last six weeks. We’ve heard a lot about the effects of our over-indulgent gluten society and thought we’d see if we noticed any physical or health benefits from removing it; we did. I quickly began scouring the Internet for gluten-free recipes and took to Facebook, where many friends gave helpful advice on the subject. We made granola bars and snacks and bread.. Oh my, did we make bread!
I realized that our main issue was going to be finding the RIGHT bread. Because there are six of us in our family, we go through almost an entire loaf of bread in one meal! When you’re buying cheap loaves at the store this isn’t a terrible inconvenience, but when you’re making every loaf yourself, it is.
I probably tried 5 different bread recipes and finally found a couple that worked… most of the time. But in the process, I threw at least 4-5 loaves in the garbage. It was such a waste of time and resources that I found myself often frustrated.
In all the hours spent trying to find just the right bread, (that actually rose and came out of the oven taller than the 1 1/2 inch loaves that went in the garbage), I realized something-bread is really important to our lives. In fact, scripture talks a lot about the provision of bread.
As the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, (Exodus 16) God provided bread, called “manna”. This bread was a symbol of the Lord’s provision and presence. Each morning, as they collected what each member of their family needed for that day, they were forced to trust God to provide. There was no pantry stocked with flour and oil, there was only wilderness. God said “I’m going to test them in this to see if they will follow my instructions”. We know from scripture that those who gathered just a bit more than they needed ended up with a jar full of maggots.
I wonder how many of us would wake to “maggots” if this was a measure of our trust in God today?
Later, as Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, he would say “Give us this day our daily bread”. (Matthew 6, Luke 11) In other words, “give us what we need for today”, just like the Israelites experienced. Because as we have to depend on the Lord for every bite of food we eat, we begin to trust him more. These Old and New Testament correlations are thrilling to me and literally sprinkled all throughout scripture.
“By gathering two quarts for each person, everyone had just enough. Each family had just what it needed”. Excerpts from Exodus 16:18
As I struggled with one of the last loaves of bread these past six weeks, God reminded me to depend on him and to trust in him-the “bread of life”.
In John 6, we see another example of bread, but this one connects the crowds coming to find Jesus with what happened years before in the wilderness. These crowds of people had read the Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and knew that God had provided manna for the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. But, what they did not yet know was how God was providing for their eternal needs through Jesus, who was standing right in front of them. Jesus began to tell them: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” These were the same crowds who watched Jesus turn a little boy’s lunch into a feast of fish and bread the day before. Now, Jesus was explaining that the substance they so badly needed in order to survive, “bread”, was actually, him. Imagine how revolutionary that idea would have been! These people knew their physical need for bread, but now they were beginning to understand their spiritual need for the “bread of life”.
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:47-51
I was so thankful for this reminder, but it’s always been “all about the bread”.
If this encouraged you today, share with your friends!!