Saturday, December 25, 2010

Jesus Our Manna


Another year has come and gone and who can fathom this great wonder of time flown by. 365 days passed yet again and countless times we (sometimes unknowingly) experience God’s mercy and grace. And what a year it has been. In our last Christmas letter we “ended” with the “beginnings” of building a new house. With mom’s move from Texas into our prior home, we needed a little more room and this year we have it! How very thankful we are for this huge blessing. We love our new house! The house has met all our needs as a growing family. More room to give mom space of her own. She now has her own “house” in the basement and she loves it! We also needed more room upstairs so we can bring those precious babies home that God has called us to through adoption. God has provided for what He has called us to and we so grateful.

We really had no idea of what we were getting ourselves into with building a new house. It nearly consumed our lives. It was however so much fun picking out all the things “we wanted” for it like colors, styles, flooring and cabinets etc. And we definitely tailored it to our liking…Texas style! How could we not? But between finishing the house (which we did a good bit ourselves) and moving into the house in early July, we really spent every waking minute for months getting things done and settled. We keep calling our summer, “the lost summer”. And it really was. We totally missed out on all the fun the summer brings. But outside of our house consumption…we actually did experience some unforgettable times that the LORD allowed us to have as “makeup” for our lost time. A grace-covering if you will.

One of those times was the LORD calling Jeff and providing for him to go to Africa. He spent two weeks in Uganda with a mission team to help orphaned children. Whoa. What an experience for us all. He had some incredible opportunities to feed children, help build a new walk-in cooler and freezer and even tie in some electricity for a couple of people to have a light bulb for the very first time. Can you imagine? How we take our blessed lives for granted. By far, opportunities to share the gospel to a people who have never heard were highlights. But witnessing extreme poverty firsthand was definitely eye opening to say the least. How all of our hearts have been changed. Another covering of God’s grace was the day our sweet Jadon gave his life to Jesus. With grateful hearts we praise the LORD for answering prayers that we have prayed for our children since their time in the womb.

Those were some definite highlights of our year. But, It would not be “real life” if I shared only our joys and the good times if I did not come transparent before you to show you our life’s sorrows and pains. Nothing hidden here. Just our lives sliced open wide for others to see that we get cut and we bleed like all humanity. And we have bled while we continue to wait for our Bella. I can’t believe an entire year has passed by and we still don’t have her. It’s truly heartbreaking to wait such a long time to bring home a little girl who desperately needs a family. Though, I guess waiting could have been more painful if we were sitting around twiddling our thumbs. But, this year’s busyness with the house has helped ease the pain a bit in our wait. We actually were so close to getting a little girl just a few weeks ago when we accepted a referral match….only to lose her at our saying “yes” and waiting to hear back to proceed. She went to another family who got in a “yes” before we could. So now we wait again trusting God to deliver our child at the right time. He knows what’s best.

Along with all the good that came with the move into a new house…. there was some not so good. There were particular situations that came about during the building of this house that caught us completely off guard. Never have we experience such hardship. The unforeseen challenges tested us in every way physically, emotionally and spiritually. With those challenges came also the difficulty of carrying two mortgages (which we knew was a great probability). Our old house has still not sold in this crazy economy and we continue to foot the bill for two houses. I think it goes with out saying that this has left huge financial burdens. I have said on numerous occasions that this year we are just trusting God for daily bread. Truly we have depended on Him daily for our every need. And over and over He has provided. It has caused me to focus on these particular verses here recently. Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.” John 6:48-50

This particular verse refers back to a period of time in the Old Testament where God’s people were in the wilderness after having just been delivered from slavery in Egypt. God brought them to a desert land where they literally had to trust God for daily bread. It was total dependence and God was faithful to provide daily through a honey wafer called manna. His provisions are most certainly sweet. Clearly, it’s the times in the wilderness when we see God’s hand of provision most clearly. This has been true of us…to be able to watch as He shows up at the right time and place to provide for our every need. To witness firsthand how He very clearly makes Himself known as Jehovah Jireh. (The LORD provides) We praise Him for His goodness. But, if we were left with just temporal earthly blessings alone, this indeed would not be sweet. Even the Israelites died in the wilderness after eating the “mystery bread.” Even it did not preserve life then and it does not preserve it now. We need something more.

We are in desperate need of another “manna,” the true bread that comes down from heaven to give us eternal life. Jesus says, “I am the bread of life” and anyone who eats of this bread will not die. Praise God that He does more than provide for our earthly needs.... He provides for our eternal ones. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3 This is truly the mystery. That God would step out of Heaven and come down to us as manna. Real food. Real Life. Is this not the real meaning of Christmas? This is why we celebrate this time of year. If we fall short of just looking forward to getting life’s earthly temporal pleasures and possessions during this Holiday, we would still go hungry. But we now no longer have to be starved from the only thing that can satisfy. We now have all we need. We have the bread that comes down from heaven. Jesus our manna. Will you partake of this bread with us this Christmas?

Merry Christmas!

The Wilbanks