At least that is what I grew up believing.
And then I moved to Asia. The land of rice. And, somehow over the last year and a half I have grown to love rice. Rice has replaced my bread. It is a rare occasion for me to have bread at home, which could potentially be attributed to the fact that sometimes within minutes of bread entering the house a swarm of ants has laid siege or the extreme humidity causes bread to go stale and mold in about a day. But, I do love rice, and it is a rare day for there to not be rice in my house.
And I have been reading Exodus. Manna. God provided the Israelites with manna. What is this? That is the exact question the Israelites asked. Manna was the substance that God gave to sustain the Israelites, to fill their bellies, to accompany their meat and veggies. There was always enough. The shelves of Heaven were always stocked.
And now I read the newspaper. I view pictures. I have a deep ache in my heart...over this.
Where is the bread? Where is the rice? Where is the manna?
There isn't enough. The bread box is empty. The rice sack is void of a single grain.
People are starving. Beautiful, beautiful people are dying. Mothers and fathers. Sons and daughters.
I have a terribly difficult time reconciling all of this in my mind and heart. How can it be that there is so much bread, so much that gets discarded at the end of every day? How can it be that there is so much rice, so much that gets heaped on my plate? How can it be that I have watched so many people dig through garbage in hopes of finding some of that "old" bread or "wasted" rice to satisfy the rumbles of their stomachs? How can it be that there are little girls and stooped grandfathers whose skin cracks and hair falls out because there is no bread? How can it be that there are baby boys and wrinkled grandmas whose eyes are sunken and ribs protrude because the rice is gone?
How can this reality be so far from my own?
I ache for these people. With all that is in me, I want to help them. I want to offer them my rice, my bread. But, I wonder if my bread will make any difference.
"As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, 'Take it, for this is my body.'" Mark 14:22
Broken bread. Jesus, the bread of life, broke Himself to pieces. He always broke the bread because one single loaf might feed a hungry little boy, but broken to pieces, a single loaf can feed thousands. I am not sure if this post is really about bread or about brokenness, but one thing I do know is that the shelves of Heaven are still stocked...