"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Philippians 4:19-20 (NIV)
My One Year Chronological Bible published by Tyndale has me reading in the gospels right now. If you have never been able to understand the Bible's events as they happened in chronological order, I highly recommend this Bible. This is my tenth year of reading the entire Bible in 365 days this way.
Today I was reminded about the wisdom of Jesus and His methods for teaching life-long lessons to His disciples--which I pray that we all are. The story of the feeding of 5000 actually starts out with Jesus and His disciples trying to find rest from the crowds as they got in a boat to get away. But the crowds recognized them and ran on foot ahead of them to the place where the boat landed. Now if I would have been one of the disciples, I would have groaned and maybe even looked pleadingly at Jesus to tell those people to go away and leave us in peace.
Jesus didn't. Instead, He had compassion on them and began to teach the crowd. Not only did He care for their spiritual needs, He also was concerned about their physical hunger. But He allowed the disciples to come to Him first to ask Him to disperse the crowd so that they individually could go find food. I can't begin to know what the disciples were thinking, but I sure know what I would be thinking:
How do I get the Master to send these people away from here? I'm tired. After all, we have been serving people all day. And we just got back from our first trip away from Jesus (Mark 6:7-11). I have so much to tell Him. The crowds are always here. I need some alone time with Jesus. I know...I'll tell Jesus to send the people away because I'm sure they are hungry...I'm hungry! That will probably sound spiritual enough and I won't have to admit my selfishness then! (Okay, girlfriends, so I am just being honest with you!)
And then Jesus said something preposterously ridiculous to the disciples after they had told Him to send the crowd away so that they could find their own food:
"You give them something to eat."
Can't you just see the disciples' stunned faces? Their incredulity at the suggestion that the twelve of them come up with enough food to feed five thousand men plus their wives and children? What in the world was Jesus asking them to do?
After explaining to Jesus (yeah, I do that way more than I should--I think Jesus needs me to shed some light on the problem to "help" Him) the impossibility of being able to buy enough food for the masses of people, Jesus asks a simple question in Mark 6:38:
"How many loaves do you have? Go and see."
In the gospel of John, Andrew speaks up that a young boy had brought five loaves of bread and two small fish and dares to ask what every single one of those men wanted to ask:
"But how will they go among so many?"
In response, Jesus just told them to have the crowd sit down. Then He took the loaves, gave thanks, and started distributing the food so that there were twelve baskets of uneaten bread and fish left over after the crowd was satisfied.
I have only thought about the crowd benefitting from the miracle. But I have since changed my mind that the real benefactors were the twelve tired men who were stunned by the Man they had left everything to follow. The crowd was not in on the exchange between Jesus and His disciples. What do you think went through Andrew's mind when he saw his question to Jesus being answered before his very eyes? Yes, the miracle was for the crowd, but the real miracle went on in the minds of those who had doubted and recognized that the impossible had just happened. Don't you think that Jesus had set the stage for the disciples to have an experience they would never forget--one that they could draw on again and again when feelings of doubt or discouragement came later on? Do you and I have any of those experiences in our own memory when we knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our God had just done the impossible for us? We must remember those times now, as we walk through the dark valley!
Oh, girlfriends, are we telling Jesus how impossible our situation is? Are we trying to "help" Him meet our need? Do we think He doesn't know our exact situation? Have we forgotten that little becomes more than enough when our Jesus comes on the scene? He doesn't need our help. He doesn't ask us to worry. But He does ask us to sit down, to be still, and to watch Him take over. Maybe He can't do that because we are too busy arguing with Him how impossible our situation is to resolve? Maybe we haven't let Him have full control over our burden?
Jesus, You are the all-powerful God. You delight in showing us Your power and glory, but I fear I waste so much time worrying and telling You how to make things right! What would happen today if I sat down on my worry, kept it contained by praising You, and watched You take what I thought was impossible and stun me with Your power? Forgive me for trying to "help" You. You are the Miracle Maker! Don't let me forget that today! To my God and Father be glory forever and ever! Amen!