Although no expert on the Book of Revelation, I am currently preaching a series of sermons on the seven messages given by Christ to seven historic churches in chapters two and three. Near the end of the statements offered to the church in Pergamum, there is a curious statement about Christ giving “hidden manna” to those believers who refuse compromise and persevere in their faith despite difficult times. I shared with the small flock I shepherd that my best take on this is that God assures us he will provide what we need when we need it for as long as we need it. As I spoke, I looked into pairs of hurting eyes, a few blank stares, and more than a few sets searching to see if I knew by experience what in heaven’s name I was talking about.
One thing I’ve learned is to resist the tendency to define God by what I need. While “God is all I need” sounds pious, the truth is that God is far more than what I need and what you need and what the whole world ever has needed or ever will need. When I self-prescribe blinders so that all I see is my need or hurt or wish, and then err by understanding God only according to the light of my own experience, I reduce Him to a shadow of myself. Does God care? Absolutely! Is God the solution? Without a doubt! But the Creator and Redeemer and Sustainer cannot be contained by my imagination or confined by my despair. Instead of asking God to act the way I want at any given moment in order to meet any given need, I must bow before Him, surrender unconditionally to Him, then allow Him to reveal His glory and plan in my circumstance.