April 2008 - Vol. 18

Manna in the Wilderness

By Ruth Gryniewicz

The Lord's path of obedience
A year ago I felt the Lord invited me down a particular path of obedience. He asked me to train to be a teacher. I had never wanted to be a teacher and the idea was extremely distasteful to me. But against this personal disinclination rang the Lord’s call, distinct and unavoidable. So I tried to reason with him. “Lord, you know that I will do your will, but are you sure about this particular direction? It will take a huge investment of my time and money, I’ll need to stop serving in my community, and, besides, you know that I don’t really want to teach.” The Lord refused my objections. I felt I heard the Lord responding, “Ruth, at this particular moment I’m not calling you to teach, I’m calling you to be trained to teach. Obey my will in the moment and surrender the future to me.”  There I had my answer. The Lord was calling me and my response had to be full obedience.

In order to confirm my discernment, perhaps hoping that I would be proved to have heard the Lord incorrectly, I sought the advice of others, and at every turn I encountered confirmation. This clearly appeared to be the Lord’s will.  And so I set out to earn a Masters in Education, training as a teacher. But I frequently found myself back on my knees pleading “Why, Lord?” Then one day the Lord taught me a deeper meaning of surrender. He revealed that I did not need to know why – he was asking obedience of me, not understanding. This obedience is a daily battle and requires me to continually reject the doubts, rebuke the tempter, and renew my surrender.

As I near the end of this year of teacher training I still do not know what the outcome of my future career will be. I may decide to teach or I may decide to do something else. But I am realizing that the Lord has used this time to train me in more than just teaching. I have experienced the importance of surrender, at every moment, and in every situation. 

This has not been an easy year and in many ways I feel as though I have been wandering in the wilderness – like the people of Israel did after their deliverance from Egypt. I am frequently desperate to give up – “Lord, hasn’t my will been broken enough? Where is this obedience leading me, anyway?” I have experienced my own weakness in a tangible, substantial way. I have had to daily live the truth that without Christ, I can do nothing. 

Meeting the Lord in the wilderness
Through this experience, I have met my Lord in a new way in the wilderness. He has invited me to abandon myself fully to his care. And he has provided. Like the Israelites received manna for food in the desert, so I have received sufficient grace for each day. 

Like the manna which could not be stockpiled for future use, I have learned that I cannot stockpile God’s grace for the future. I must not forget that I need Christ’s grace all the time. Through binding my will in obedience I have discovered a deeper freedom and purpose for my life. Christ is bringing me to the place where I can say, “in your will, Lord, is my peace.”

His will, once so distasteful, is becoming my delight. And as Christ calls me out of my own inclinations, I find there is more room to give and receive love. I now realize that this path of obedience, which I thought was leading into a trackless waste, has actually brought me more fully into the presence of the Lord.
Ruth Gryniewicz is a student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. She is actively involved in University Christian Outreach and Word of Life Community.

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