February 10, 2006

Building Stamina

Exodus 16:1-8

"I will rain down bread from heaven for you." Exodus 16:4


I have friends who have ridden bikes across North America. How do they prepare for such an adventure? They bike 20 miles a day after work, and they take longer jaunts on weekends. But does that prepare them for the grueling demands of a daily hundred-mile grind? Not fully. Cyclists build stamina in their first days on the road. And stamina comes with time. You can't give up as you build muscle tone. The people of Israel learned that lesson while they traveled in the desert. They thought the worst part was getting out of Egypt. They discovered later that it took more stamina to stick with the program while scrambling through wilderness ravines. Are you surprised? The daily grind of obedience often wears us down too. We begin to think that the "grass was greener" before we began journeying with God and before he made demands on our time, our finances, and our priorities. In the desert God offered his bone-weary people extraordinary provisions. God fed his people on "bread from heaven." The gift of manna to ancient Israel was a sign of the sustaining gift of Christ Jesus to us. He is "the true bread from heaven" (John 6:32). Sustained by Jesus on the journey, we find that our spiritual muscles grow strong as our complaints shrink away.

Lord, we know that most of our discipleship is "on the job" training. Help us be your faithful apprentices. Prepare our hearts for the lessons you want to teach us today. Amen.

About the author — Bob Heerspink

Dr. Robert Heerspink was director of Back to God Ministries International from 2006 until 2011, when he passed away. He had previously pastored several Christian Reformed churches. Bob loved to write and was a frequent contributor to the Today devotional.

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