The Manna Ceased

Sometimes we receive a little extra help temporarily. It’s wonderful while it lasts, but there comes a point when we need to stand on our own two feet again and be more self-sufficient.

While the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, they ate manna, a food which miraculously appeared each morning, six days a week. But when they crossed the Jordan River and entered the promised land, “the manna ceased…neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat the fruit of the land of Canaan that year” (Joshua 5:12).

Was this transition difficult for the Israelites? Most of them had probably eaten manna their entire lives, so they needed to develop new skills as they adjusted to new methods of gathering food.

Many years later, as Lehi and his family journeyed to their promised land, their experience was different. Rather than receive food miraculously, they hunted for food during their eight years in the wilderness. But they eventually arrived at a place where delicious food was plentifully available. Here’s how Lehi’s son Nephi described this place:

We did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish. And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters.

And it came to pass that we did pitch our tents by the seashore; and notwithstanding we had suffered many afflictions and much difficulty, yea, even so much that we cannot write them all, we were exceedingly rejoiced when we came to the seashore; and we called the place Bountiful, because of its much fruit.

1 Nephi 17:5-6

After spending “many days” in Bountiful, Nephi received a commandment to build a ship. His brothers were initially unwilling to help, because they thought it presumptuous for Nephi, who had no experience with shipbuilding, to attempt to construct a seaworthy vessel (1 Nephi 17:17-18). I wonder if their reluctance was also partly a function of their comfortable conditions. Why would you want to leave a place which offered you easy access to food, especially after spending eight years in less ideal circumstances?

In the end, they did help Nephi build the ship. Then, they packed it with “fruits and meat from the wilderness, and honey in abundance” to begin the next phase of their journey (1 Nephi 18:6). In order to arrive at their promised land, they had to leave their comfort zone. It was the only way.

Today, I will adapt quickly to changes in my circumstances. I will recognize that some privileges are temporary and that I may need to leave some advantages behind in order to accomplish my goals and fulfill my missions in life.

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