Something to keep in mind

This may change your opinion of me forever.

But, what the heck. I have in this ornate wooden box a keepsake unlike any other. In fact, it may be the only like it in the world. Until now, I have only shown it to my closest friends. For good reason.

It is a petrified pancake.

Roughly forty years ago, I was cooking for a Christian retreat and had enough batter to fry up one last flapjack. Still young enough to mistake quirkiness for humor, I decided to take it home with me. That proved to be quite an adventure.

First, a dog took it off of the porch. I traded hot dogs to get it back. Then, placing it out of reach on the roof of one of the cars, I forgot about it until we were on the highway and watched from another car, aghast, as it flipped up in the wind and thudded onto the trunk of its ride, where it remained until I could rescue it at a stoplight. When I got home, I wrapped it in wax paper and it slowly dried out.

This odd keepsake reminds me of that day – even down to the dog’s tooth mark (a canine’s canine to be exact) that it bears. I love to open this box with visiting kids and relive the pancake’s adventure.

I tell you this because of something I read in Exodus 16. In my last post, I talked about manna. But in verse 33 and 34, God commands something interesting I rediscovered yesterday concerning the curious food:

And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the LORD to be kept throughout your generations.” As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony to be kept.

God commanded that some manna be kept in a vessel before him for generations. Think about it: this was a memory jar. But it wasn’t placed before the people for them to be constantly reminded of God’s provision for them.

It was set before the LORD.

Of course, the all-knowing God does not need memory prompts. He holds all events of history in his awareness at all times. But what he seems to be doing here is not only creating an object lesson of his provision to his people, but of his attentiveness toward them.

A jar of shells sits on another shelf in my studio. My wife has a special beach in Florida where she went many times as a child. She has introduced me to it and I have grown to love it as well. Imagine, then, that I had asked her to collect shells in this jar to give to me. (We actually collected these together.) I don’t really need the reminder. My love for the beach never fades.

But in a way, the shells, sitting on my shelf, act as a reminder to her as well. They remind her that I share her love for the beach. That I remember.

Just like the manna jar in God’s presence, Jesus, our eternal manna, stands before the Father and intercedes for us (Rom. 8:34). The Father doesn’t need Jesus to bring us up, just like he didn’t need the prompt of his provision of food in the wilderness. His heart is ever leaning toward his children.

But it does our hearts good to remember how much he remembers us.

Gracious God, you are ever attentive to those who are yours. You never overlook, never are distracted, never need reminders. So great is your steadfast love toward us! Thanks for reminding us of it.

Readers: What object do you have that reminds you of something God has done in your life?

Tell me about it.

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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