Dec 02 2016

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Are you craving God or the slavery of the past?

The Five Minute Friday word is crave. I came across Deuteronomy 8:3 in my reading of One Thousand Gifts Devotional (Amazon affiliate link) yesterday. Babycakes and I are reading about the Israelites in the desert for homeschool. And when I searched crave in my Bible app, this Deuteronomy verse came up again. God knows I’m slow to get the message. My words couldn’t stop at five minutes. I hope you understand…and keep reading to the end.

“And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭8:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Are you craving God or the slavery of the past?


I’m laying down.

The tears keep coming.

My heart is aching, longing, craving for the past.

I just want it the way it was.

The room is silent. The answer doesn’t come.

And I am left there alone.

I feel the loneliness surround me like a blanket.

It strangles.

I can’t live like this anymore.

I just can’t.

The truth is I wasn’t alone. I could live like this, but what I craved wasn’t just the pleasantries of the past. What I craved was a life in slavery. Not overt slavery but slavery in my soul. I loved a life that didn’t crave God.

Sure, God was part of my life. No one would ever guess anything lacked.

But I knew.

A little.

I did the externals, but the craving for control and my will ruled the day. I stuffed my misery in morally acceptable habits. But my heart was not His, and God knew it. He wanted me to know true freedom.

So he led me out of slavery, and I was in the desert.


(FMF friends, if you will indulge me a bit more, I have more.)

God has more for you than a desert

But it doesn’t stop in the desert. There is a promise of a land. A different life. It’s down the road. But in the moment, in the right now, the heart aches. The heart cries out.

What does God provide?

For the Israelites, God provided manna. Literal food they had to gather. They had never eaten manna. Then didn’t know what it was, that’s the meaning of the word manna, “What is it?” This was God’s best provision for them, exactly what they needed for the day, straight from his hand.

For us, we don’t get manna from the heaven to make into bread. What we get is God’s best provision for us, exactly what we need, straight from his hand.

Just like God led the Israelites out of slavery, God wants to lead us out slavery to sin, out of old ways of living that looked good but was a life disconnected from him.

The first step away from slavery feels like a desert. We crave the old and remember only parts of our past–the parts we enjoyed. How do we block out the emptiness and pain of being enslaved? How do we forget?

We have a tendency to reframe our past

We forget because the ache is real. The emptiness is real. In the desert, we cannot grasp and fill our souls as we used to. The ache and emptiness was there back in the land of slavery, but we filled ourselves with anything but God.

Relationships. Busyness. Work. Impressing others.

Or, TV, Facebook, Pinterest, surfing the internet, food.

Or, dark, secret sins. The ones filled with guilt and shame, but no one knows. No one needs to know either, so we tell ourselves.

We forget the past and reframe it, and tell ourselves that life was good back then, and we want to pay any price to go back there.

God wants you to experience real freedom

But God is leading us out of slavery into freedom.

When you feel the ache, and what he provides doesn’t make any sense to you at all, know what is true:

God longs to fill you fully and completely with himself, to give you a life that is wholly satisfied in him.

The desert will not last forever. Trust him. He has what you need in the desert. Right here. Right now.

Where can you go in your pain?

When you feel the pain, go to God first. Cry out to him. Give him your heart. Ask him to give you eyes to see the “manna” he is providing for you today.

Here are some ways God has given me what I needed in the moment:

  • A passage of scripture that holds my thoughts on truth.
  • A call from a friend.
  • A hug and word of love from my child who has no idea he was God’s hands and feet.
  • A time of solitude.
  • A time of fellowship.
  • Writing out words in a journal.
  • Playing guitar.

These are all things that I give thanks to God for providing. He sustained me in the dark times. Do I still like to go back to slavery? Yes, there are still times I run back. But that is not where I live.

I hated the desert times in my life. (Yes, there were times. There will be times. I’m perfectly human and in a journey towards wholeness.) But the desert is where I learned to ask God, ”What do I need from you right now?” It is where I learned to abide in him.

Are you in the desert? Will you trust God to provide?

Tell God your pain. Ask him for the manna he will provide.

What has God provided for you in your desert times?

These are a lot easier to see in hindsight. Write in the comments below, be encouraged, and find encouragement.

Share your story.

Are these words encouraging to you? Share.

What is Five Minute Friday?

It is a 5-minute writing party. Click the icon to read some other great writing.

Five Minute Friday

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.


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  1. Patricia

    Oh how encouraging is the truth of God leading us from slavery to freedom! And what a lovely reminder that the desert does not last forever.
    Patricia (FMF#37)

    1. Cheryl

      It’s hard to believe that the desert doesn’t last forever while being in the desert. That is one reason why living in a community with encouraging voices is so important.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Lesley

    God has been pointing me to the Bible passages about the Israelites leaving Egypt and journeying to the Promised Land a lot lately so I appreciated your reflections here. It is easy to look back and see the past through rose-tinted glasses instead of pressing on to the new thing God has for us. It’s so important to learn to trust him to supply our needs and give us satisfaction.

    1. Cheryl

      Those rose-colored glasses are so tempting. The problem with it is that there is no healing when we don’t recognize our wounds and allow the Comforter to comfort and the Healer to heal. In our pain, He meets us most profoundly.

      Thanks for visiting. May God continue to teach you as you study about the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.

  3. Mollie Hardman

    I needed this today. I am struggling with the past this weekend. I got engaged last year at this time, then six months later he walked away. I am thankful that God brings the things I need when I need them, the calls and texts from friends, words of wisdom in a friend’s blog post, the comedic relief that is my dog and kids. Thank you for these words!
    #62 this week!

    1. Cheryl

      I’m so glad. There are days I wonder if my writing connects with anyone else. Your encouragement is what I needed today.

      I am so sorry about the broken engagement. That’s painful.

      Friends’ encouraging words, words of wisdom, comedy, these are all wonderful gifts from God.

      May you continue to soak in God’s just-for-you, soul-satisfying provision right where you are.

      Thanks for visiting.

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