Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Shelley Schurch
Sunday, May 26, 2019

A week ago Sabbath we opened our front door to head to the car, heavily-laden with guitar, bag of Bibles and notebooks, and potluck food, and were startled to find ourselves in a swirl of cottonwood fluff. Yesterday there was no sign of it, and now it was filling the air.

As we drove north on I-405 the cottonwood continued to swirl around us, all the way to church in Bellevue. Such a flamboyant display impresses me; the trees I remember from my Alaska childhood are cedar, spruce, hemlock, and mountain ash — none of which produced such a springtime “snow show.”

As I snapped the photos you see above, taken in our neighborhood park, I suddenly saw not fluff, not snow, but manna.

When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?’” For they did not know what it was.

Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat . . . .’

The people of Israel called the bread manna. [Note: Manna is the Hebrew word for “What is it?”] It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded: “Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.” (Exodus 16:14-15, 31-33)

And so God sent manna down from heaven for the forty years that His hard-to-please, prone-to- rebellion children trekked through the wilderness to the land He had promised them, the land that would overflow with milk and honey. (It makes me grin to think that He was giving them a taste of that longed-for land with these honey wafers!)

As I gazed on my neighborhood cottonwood fluff/snow/manna this week, I realized that when at night I think back over my day and look for the blessings in it and write them down, I’m searching for the manna. I’m tracing God’s hand of daily provision, lovingly given to me.

Sometimes when I review my day I wrinkle my brow in puzzlement or consternation and ask, “What was that?” – unable to figure out some happening. It may be only later that I discover that this, too, was manna, God’s goodness in temporary disguise.

The cottonwood fluff will soon be gone, but my manna musings will remain with me. Perhaps our recording of His blessings is similar to the Lord commanding His children to keep a pot of manna “for the generations to come” as a reminder of His constant care for their needs as they trudged to the Promised Land.

As I read the notebook Maylan’s mother filled at my request with stories of how God had led in her life, it sometimes fills my eyes with tears, and always fills my heart with thankfulness. What better gift to pass on to “generations to come” than the compelling stories of God’s goodness in our lives.

And I know that it lifts my heart when I read back over what I’ve noted of God’s hand in my day-after-day life. Join me in searching for His manna, and be encouraged this week!