Isn't that a great word? I actually had to look it up to make sure I'm using it right, but confluence means "a flowing together or gathering of events." I'm amazed at the number of times in my life it feels like there is a "confluence of events" where different pieces of the day come together in a remarkable way. I find that this is often how God speaks to me- in the random components of life that suddenly don't seem so random. Does this ever happen for you?
I've been reflecting lately on a podcast I picked up from Mars Hill church in Grand Rapids, MI. The pastor, Rob Bell, was giving a talk from the book of Exodus and he spent some time highlighting the way in which God fed the people- bread from heaven. This bread would come down every day, and the people were to gather as much as they needed for that day. I find it humorous how the NLT version of the Bible describes their next activity: "But, of course, some of them didn't listen and kept some of it until morning." The Israelites figured that they should get as much as they could so they could live off of it for awhile. The next morning, however, they found that their heavenly bread had become less than heavenly; maggot-ridden and rotten smelling. Yuck!
Here's the confluence of life. The next morning, I was pulling out my journal, and rather shamefully discovered that it had been quite some time since I had last written. I found this a little frightening because my journal is a good barometer of how often I have stopped to really think deeply- to consider who God is and what he's doing in my life. And so I sat there and wondered about the effects of my rushed life over the last few weeks and my unwillingness to stop and be with God. Suddenly, the message from the podcast came to my mind. God had promised to give his people what they needed for each day, but not enough for the next. I realized that I was living like my heavenly bread would last. I had gathered well one day, and then attempted to live off of that sustenance for the rest of the week. As I reflected on a week that had felt frantic and where I had felt heavily burdened, I wondered if I hadn't suffered the effects of "maggot-ridden bread."
In some way, we may find it frustrating that God only promises to give us enough for each day. Wouldn't it be easier if he was like a holy gas station, where we fueled up and then ran on that gas for several weeks or even a month? But then we'd miss the point. You see, in the desert, God wasn't just trying to feed the Israelites. He was trying to teach them to depend on Him for everything- every day and in every way. Throughout the Bible, He's a day by day kind of God. We're told not to worry about tomorrow, for today has enough trouble. We're told that God's love and mercy is new every morning. We're told not to make promises about what will happen tomorrow, because we've only been given today. Essentially, God is calling people to know Him in this day, and then tomorrow do it all over again.
I wonder how often we get so busy that we try to live off of day-old maggot-ridden bread, and as a result our souls face a slow death. What would it be like to become a "daily collector" of heavenly bread? What would it be like to go to God every day not out of debt, duty, or guilt, but out of a profound sense of our need, a profound sense of our hunger for Him?
May these questions cause you to stop and reflect on your journey.