A Table In The Wilderness
“Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?”
I said it rather flippantly under my breath as we were pulling into the parking lot of the downtown Des Moines IA hotel where we were to stay. My husband heard it. Our driver heard it. God heard it.
But I was a little miffed. More than miffed—I was angry. Angry at myself for leaving my apples on the kitchen counter back home. Angry that I didn’t realize I’d forgotten them until we’d already reached Des Moines’ wilderness of downtown high-rise buildings and businesses. A lack of convenience stores within walking distance and the lateness of the hour didn’t help my mood either. No doubt, the ministry hosting our trip was already waiting in the lobby to whisk us away to the meeting at which my husband would be speaking.
I was a mess . . . and sunk. I needed those apples. Petty, I know, but I likened my need for apples to a diabetic’s need for insulin. They were vital to my bodily maintenance and well-being. ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ meant just that. I jerked my carry-on’s extendable handle into place and with a sigh, watched our transportation drive away. God must not care about bodily maintenance. Or me.
The moment we reached check-in, the basket of shiny red apples at the counter caught my eye. I felt the warmth of shame rise in my cheeks as I flashed my husband a sheepish grin. Obviously, my accusations were unwarranted.
The next morning, I elected to stay in our room and pray while Bill breakfasted with men from the ministry in the hotel restaurant. How quickly I had turned on God over something so miniscule as an apple! What was it with these apples anyway, (if indeed an apple was the culprit in the Garden)? Me—a veteran of God’s countless blessings. Still, a child of God—behaving like a spoiled child having a quasi-tantrum over . . . apples? Like the unbelieving children of Israel, I’d doubted His faithfulness and ability to provide something so simple as a piece of fruit. They tempted God in their hearts . . . Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, He did smite the rock so that waters gushed out and the streams overflowed; but can He give bread also? Can He provide flesh for His people? (Psalm 78:18–20). Lord have mercy! I spent my devotional time eating humble pie and thanking God for my little apple in hand.
Just as I was about to bite into my Red Delicious, an unexpected knock came at our door. It was a bellboy. Balanced on his arm was a tray with land-of-milk-and-honey sized portions of sliced strawberries, kiwi, oranges, bananas, grapes—and apples. “A gift from your husband,” the young man told me as he laid it on the table in our room. “He thought you might enjoy more than an apple for breakfast.”
Touché! Not only does God supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus, He . . . is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams (Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:20). Beyond what we deserve!
Overwhelmed by God’s astonishingly extravagant demonstration of love through my husband, I bawled . . . and bawled. He who prepared a table before me, in plain sight of my enemies who’d convinced me that God didn’t care, had caused my cup (tray) to be chock-full and running over (Psalm 23:5). He’d made a way in my wilderness and rivers in my desert (Isaiah 43:19).
Lord, help us to not succumb to a pauper mentality in whatever wilderness needs we are facing. Grant us faith-filled expectation in You—Jehovah Jireh, our provider. Open our eyes to see and recognize the super-abundant table You’ve set before us. Grace us to pull up a chair and dig in to Your feast that is so much more than food in our mouths, but is generous servings of every delectable fruit of the Spirit, and of grace, hope, mercy, strength, healings, deliverance, provision, victory, and . . . and . . .