It was one of those mornings I woke after having another unusual vision in a dream. It had been more like a short five second video clip that had shot through my sleeping thoughts. I saw an unopened package of saltine crackers floating on water. I know, weird—right? It’s even more peculiar that I wake up remembering what takes place in my mind while sleeping.

As usual I started my morning with the Lord reading my Bible and doing devotions. The first words in Isaiah 30:20 seemed to jump off the page at me. “The Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction.”
The week had been one of adversity for sure; a story I’ll share another time. However, it was exciting to me that God would first give me a dream about saltine crackers. Jesus is the Bread of Life and we are called the salt of the earth. (John 6:35, Matthew 5:13) I hadn’t just dreamed of saltines though, the crackers were floating on water. Jesus is the Living Water. He says, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”—John 7:38.

Next, I grabbed my Jesus Calling devotional written by Sarah Young and her devotional talked about the ways to be joyful in the midst of adversity. I knew that God was speaking something to me.

Excited I went into the other room to tell my husband and his friend about this experience. His friend says to me, “God never talks to me like He does to you. I must not have what it takes to hear from God like you do. I obviously haven’t reached that mark.”

These aren’t the words or thoughts that I want anyone to think. God speaks to each one of us in the language we best comprehend. There is no mark to reach. He meets us where we are.

A friend told me that she asked God why He didn’t speak to her as He does to me. And God answered her. He said, “Joni is more hard-headed and stubborn. I have to do more to get her attention. I don’t need to do that with you.”

Her words didn’t sting for I knew they were true. “Sin-ugly” seems too often to rear its ugly head in my life. My husband’s friend got to witness this. For as I was in the midst of telling my story, my husband interrupts to show our friend some coupons asking if he wanted any of them. How rude!

And so there it came…the sin-ugly. I immediately said words and reacted in a way that was embarrassing to me, my husband, and to our friend. Adversity. Satan has a way of using those that we love the most to push our buttons, doesn’t he? Yet God’s Word says, “The Lord gives the bread of adversity and the water of affliction.”

Why would this be? Why would God give us adversity and affliction?

The rest of Isiah 30:20 tells us…your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it”

Adversity and affliction is to teach us the way in which we should walk. My sin-ugly moment in front of my husband and his friend was perhaps a teaching moment for all of us. For my husband and me we were reminded of the lesson to be respectful of one another as God’s Word outlines in Ephesians 5:25-27. For our friend, I can only hope he learned that by comparing his relationship with the Lord to mine is wrong.

The Lord meets each of us exactly where we are. He speaks in whatever way necessary to get our attention. Believers are still sinners. Yet when we seek the Lord and long to hear His voice, we will find Him with us.

“How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the LORD,”
—Psalm 116:12