Skip to main content

What is This? - A reflection by Christine Bor

“What is this?”, I demand, frustrated that God would allow this.

“What is this?”, I cry, in anguish that God would allow this.

“What is this?”, I sigh, exhausted that God would allow this.

What is this thing that disrupts me from my day, my life, my comfort, my routine?

What is this thing that once again disproportionately affects marginalized communities who have experienced the systemic oppression of food and housing insecurity and healthcare inequality for centuries?

What is this thing that exposes and highlights the compounding of racial disparities and blatant prejudices?

Manna is manhu, which in Hebrew translates to “What is this.”

It’s an honest and brutal question. The Israelites were starving in the desert and when God gave them something to eat, they had the audacity to ask, “What is this?”

But here I see the same audacity creep into my heart, my thoughts, my prayers. I question everything He places in my life and instead question, “What is this? How dare you? I thought you were a good Father?”

And as I begrudgingly began to reflect on Psalm 23 as the current events unfolded, I was struck by verse 6 that reads “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Surely goodness and mercy. These two things haven’t been divided into separate categories or placed on different shelves. They are merging together, in tandem and both full of purpose and intentionality. Goodness and mercy. Goodness. AND. Mercy.

Surely, in spite of my doubt, God promises that goodness and mercy will be there with me and also with you. And even in my undeserving nature, His abundant love will follow me all the days of my life.

But what about the suffering, injustice, and evil around me? What about the pain, the unknowns, the too-difficult-to-sort-through experiences? I find myself, like sheep, so quick to get lost in these questions without my Shepherd.

“What is this?”, I ask, this time in a posture that is trying to understand that pain and peace collide contentedly as God allows both.

“This is sustenance”, He answers. Not in a cruel, or reckless, or detached, or “I told you so” way. But in a grace-filled way. In a merciful way. In a “I wanted you to trust in the hope only I give you” way. In a restorative way.

What if this thing, or experience, or season is the manna we needed to make us reliant on God? To make us push towards His heart? To come before Him in repentance for the things we have placed higher than Himself on the Throne?

The truth of manna for the moment recenters me in this way. Though I question God’s goodness and mercy, He reaches down and provides manna. Day after day, He provides something that makes me have to trust in the hope that He will provide for me the next day.

I don’t know what areas of your life you are asking “What is this?”, but I do know that God fully intends to provide sustenance in your life, and sometimes in forms that we don’t want or appreciate. Rest with me- that we can eat of this manna and see the purpose in it.


Christine Bor has been a member at Northside for two months. What she enjoys about NCR is the community she's found that sees her, knows her, and loves her. She is currently pursuing her MSW at VCU with a specialization in Child and Adolescent Trauma. 

Comments

  1. This is powerful. I am moved and convicted by the line: “I do know that God fully intends to provide sustenance in your life, and sometimes in forms that we don’t want or appreciate. ”
    Thanks CB for sharing this!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. YES! Thank you, Christine. Goodness AND Mercy ... pursuing every day of our lives.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"Our Souls Cry Out" by Tiffanie Chan

It is difficult to speak for the Asian American community. Our experience is so vast and varied—some of us have been here for generations, with grandparents forcibly removed to internment camps during World War II, some of us are those whose ancestors came to build the Transcontinental Railroad. The timeline of when we came directly correlates with racist immigration policies that allowed or denied us entry. For others, our families came because of war and conflict (often involving American military intervention). Some came as transracial adoptees, which makes our stories all the more complex. Others came for higher education and a chance at opportunity. We’ve grown up behind the counters at restaurants, markets, and dry cleaners, in suburbia as token minorities, in dense city centers of immigrant communities, and everywhere in between. But what we do share in America is the sense that we are unseen and we don’t belong. If we were born here, we don’t belong in our countries of origin

"Racism is sin. Let's treat it that way." by Sam Vaughn

Racism is sin . People are sinners. I am a person. I am a sinner. I am stained by the sin of racism. I commit the sin of racism. I omit the righteous deeds that undo and push back the sin of racism. I have stayed silent when it benefited me, rather than speaking when it would have benefited my brothers and sisters of color. I have defaulted to judgment rather than sorrow, when an unarmed Black person is shot to death. I remember when Michael Brown was shot and killed, watching the news coverage, the first thing I focused on was what he ‘must have done to cause it.’ I sought for a flaw in Michael Brown’s character as if that should be worthy of death. I engaged with other nationally covered events in a similar way. Embracing a narrative that made me comfortable was functionally more important to me than the God-given lives of image bearers like Eric Garner and Tamir Rice. I have been indifferent, and uncaring. Over the past year I have ignored the increase in violent hate crimes agains

A Response to “Our Souls Cry Out” by Lukeythia Bastardi

Dear Tiffanie, One thing I want you (and others reading) to be sure to understand, and to hear as you read this, is that "you" also equals "yours," as in the entire AAPI Diaspora. One, among many wonderful shared cultural mores between Black and Asian people, is that we are a collective people. We use singular and plural personal pronouns interchangeably. That is how it ought to be as followers of Jesus, together adopted into his family, together sharing in his inheritance, and together breaking bread. You bring the chop sticks, I'll bring the hot sauce. My soul is (again) groaning, all the while knowing, That a change is gonna come. It will be missed by some. That "already to the not yet" time will be done. (That simple promise has kept my people from coming undone.) Our Lord Jesus will see to it, That your enemies (who because they are yours are also my enemies) Will get what He sees fit. Sister Chan, please know that y