Eat The Mystery

“When we are despairing, we can choose the live as Israelites gathering manna.  For forty long years, God’s people daily eat manna—-a substance whose name literally means ‘What is it?’  Hungry, they choose to gather up that which is baffling.  They fill on that which has no meaning.  More than 14,600 days they take their daily nourishment from that which they don’t comprehend.  They find soul-filling in the inexplicable.

They eat the mystery.

They eat the mystery.

And the mystery, that which made no sense, is ‘like wafers of honey’ on the lips.”

~Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, pg. 22

I have always been fascinated by this section of the Old Testament.  The story of the Israelites and God’s bountiful, yet totally odd and unexpected provision.  When God speaks to Moses, he says that the Israelites will know that he’s God and the one who brought them out of Egypt because of his provision for their hunger.  In fact, in verse 9 of Exodus, chapter 16, it says, “Moses instructed Aaron: ‘Tell the whole company of Israel: “Come near to God. He’s heard your complaints.”‘”  Not only is God providing for them, but he’s doing so after being barraged by epic complaining.    And, at least according to my understanding, he doesn’t just provide for them to get them to be quiet and quit complaining.  He provides out of a place of love.  Deep, deep love.

In their quest to not find themselves wanting and hungry, they kept some back, stockpiling to ensure they wouldn’t starve.  And guess what, it got all gross and moldy and inedible.  And in every aspect, amount, timing, and method, it was figured out to a “t”.  When they took it into their own hands, things went awry.

They, as Ann wrote, had NO CLUE what they were eating.  This lover of all things kitchen/cookbook/foodie oriented would have gone crazy!!!!  FORTY YEARS OF “WHAT IS IT?”/manna?!??!  FORTY YEARS.  I’m not even 40 yet.  {Maybe old man Matt could relate….he’s 41…shhhh…..}.

How do we wake up, to fully live, to embrace this mystery?  To eat the mystery?

There are a lot of things in life, especially these days, where things just don’t gel, jive or make sense.  The mystery these days can be grappling with my dear friend’s loss of her family in the San Bruno fire and explosion just 5 short months ago.  It can be wondering what my “vocational” purpose is.  The mystery can be as basic as why Drew will take a 2 1/2 hour nap today and only sleep 30 minutes tomorrow.  It can be navigating how to make time for conversation and family when life is just BUSY and filled with the constant chattering of a 3 1/2 year old.

These mysteries…..the “what is is?” moments and events…..don’t naturally seem like things that are appealing.  They are baffling, despairing, confusing, tiring, challenging.  Somehow we are called into a place of walking into and through these moments and find “soul-filling in the inexplicable.”


For now, my phrase and mantra is simple…Sit.  With.  It. To know that despite circumstances, God calls us to sit with it, even when “it” is confusing and mysterious.  In fact, as this passage focused on the Israelites points out, we should not only sit with it, but dive in,  and eat our fill.  This whole concept leaves me with with more questions than answers, but….it’s a mystery.


The first photo was taken at St. Dorothy’s Rest, Occidental, CA, October 2008

The second is some fungus fun on the Oregon Coast, August 2009

And the final one, Matt took at Munson Creek Falls in Oregon, August 2009



2 thoughts on “Eat The Mystery

  1. Hi Christine, I am enjoying your blog so much, but this one was especially moving and timely for me. Thank you so much for the thought and time it takes to create these beautiful posts. I love being able to keep up with your sweet family this way too!

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