Filling Empty Boxes

It sits empty, waiting to be filled.


The small, transparent box was a birthday gift from a friend.  Inspired by a sweet conversation we

had many months prior, the box reminded her of the discussion we had about the implications of God’s instruction found in Exodus 16:31-34.

“The house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey.  Then Moses said, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded, “Let an omerful of it be kept throughout your generations, that they may see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.”’  Moses said to Aaron, ‘Take a jar and put an omerful of manna in it, and place it before the LORD to be kept throughout your generations.’  As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony to be kept.” 

This box had been given to me as a place for me keep small remembrances of God’s provision in my life.  Remembrances for me to see.  Remembrances for my children to see.  Yet, here it is, sitting empty.

Certainly not because God’s provision and power has not been evidenced in our lives; quite the opposite is true.  We have story after story of God’s sweet intervention into some pretty desperate moments.

It occurred to me today that the box sits empty for another reason.

The backstory of this passage in Exodus is the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites after their miraculous rescue from Egypt.  Road-weary and faith-fatigued, their grumblings for better roadside services had reached deafening decibels.   They wanted sweeter water—and God provided it.  They wanted a neighborhood bakery for morning treats—and God provided that too.  Overcome with their “good-fortune,” some of them tried to hoard the delicacies.  Who can blame them right?  The only thing better than a good meal is the opportunity to save some for leftovers.  Only problem is that the Lord had very specifically told them to only take what they needed for that day—He did not want them carrying along yesterday’s bread.  And so the contraband became foul and bred worms.

The truth of the matter is that there are things—sometimes, even things He has provided—that He wants us to set down.    The bread of provision He gave us yesterday can become a worm-filled, foul smelling burden if we are trying to carry it into our future.   Could it be that we, like the Israelites, would rather celebrate and stash away God’s provisions more than daily delighting in and trusting the Provider?

The jar of remembrance the Israelites were commanded to keep was for the sake of future generations.  Future.  Looking forward.  The past was in God’s hands.  The future is too. Hands that cling to yesterday’s glory are challenged to worship with abandon.  The jar was about worship.  Worship is inspiring.  It doesn’t take long for children to see whether your trusting God or just His stuff.  All they’ll have to do is watch if you worship or worry.

My box sits empty because I am holding onto what God has done, and in some cases hasn’t done.  If my box were rightly filled with remembrances of who God has shown Himself to be in my life, my orientation would be fixed on what God will doHope has a way of letting history stay where it belongs—in yesterday.  Today is here.  Tomorrow is coming.  I will not need yesterday’s ‘bread’ for God will be present in both.

In the reading of this I hear the Lord saying, “That will be enough.  Let yesterday’s provisions be.  Give thanks.  Move on.  I will provide for you when you get to tomorrow.  Only hold on to who I am.  I will concern myself with your needs.  You can trust me.”

So, I am picking up my pen and filling my box with remembrances of who I know God to be: Healer.  Sustainer.  Provider.  Faithful friend.  Comforter.

With what will you fill your empty box?  Worship or worry?

4 thoughts on “Filling Empty Boxes

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