Down below the old apple tree in the meadow where goldenrods grow freely and the mountain stream sings its soothing melody, we put out deer corn everyday just before dusk. The deer have come to expect it and often come early, anticipating their sustenance before we’ve cast it across the slender grass.
We delight in providing for them.
We delight in their trust.
But they must journey from the forest wilderness to receive the blessing.
The children of God had to do the same while traveling on their wilderness journey, except in place of golden nuggets of corn, the Lord provided manna — bread from heaven.
The only thing is that they had to leave the comfort of their tents and gather it daily. God didn’t leave it at the entrance to their tents. He wanted them to desire it, anticipate its white linen-like cloak across the desert plain each new day’s dawning.
The Lord delighted in providing for them.
He delighted in their trust.
But He left it up to them to gather it.
In the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need…’ ~ Exodus 16:13-16
And that’s where we come in.
God provides, but are we willing to gather His provision?
Like the deer that visit us at dusk, do we trust the hand that feeds us and anticipate His faithful provision? Do we yearn for Him? Deer desire rivers of water. Do we? Do we thirst after our God?
Thirsting after Him.
That’s how we gather.
He promises that His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) and tells us through the story of Gideon (Judges 6) to go in the strength that we have been given. He offers us peace — not as the world gives, but as He alone can give. He provides shelter from the storms life hurls at us. He makes a way where there seems to be no way and makes the impossible, possible.
All we need is right there with Him and in Him — that is where we live and move and have our being.
But that happens when we thirst for Him, for His Presence.
That happens when we step out of the wilderness places and come to Him.
All we’ve ever needed, His hand has provided.
But we must gather it.
I stand at the kitchen sink as the sun lowers itself beyond the mountain ridge and watch for the deer. I wait, hoping that once again they will know we can be counted on to provide nourishment for them. Quietly I watch. Peering through the branches of the old apple tree I see movement in the twilight of dusk.
It’s the deer.
They have come to gather.