In Luke 9 we read about Jesus feeding the 5,000. Many of us are familiar with that, right? Granted, but what I’ve started doing when I read the portions of the Bible I’ve skimmed over dozens of times is asking the Lord to show me something I’ve not seen before. For example, in this chapter we read the following:
Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to Him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”
But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are You expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” (Luke 9:12-13)
I can just picture the disciples’ cynicism, their skepticism. They’re like, “You’re KIDDING, right? You expect us to just somehow, miraculously, feed this massive crowd?”
What I noticed, however, which I never have before, is the disciples had a problem, but instead of going immediately to the Savior, they start dreaming, scheming and plotting, with their finite, human brains on how to get the job done. The crowd is obviously hangin’ out with Jesus because they need SPIRITUAL food, but after a while, their mortal bodies need PHYSICAL food. So, this is a spiritual thing, not just a bunch of people who are hungry.
The kids are getting grumpy. “Mommy, when’s lunch? I’m STARVING!” The parents are getting antsy. Daddy’s belly starts to growl. Jesus still has more work to do, but He’s gonna start losin’ them if He doesn’t do something about the food situation, and do it fast.
So the disciples try to carry out this MASSIVE, spiritual mission themselves, and have their own ideas about how to do it. WOW, how many times have we done THAT? The Lord is sitting back, waiting for us to ask Him for help, and yet we’re trying to figure it all out ourselves, stewing in our confusion and fear, thinking, “How on EARTH am I gonna get this done?”
So the disciples go to Jesus and say, “Ok, Lord, here’s our idea,” which cracks me up to no end because I’ve done that dozens of times. I go to God and say, “You’ve given me this dream, which is way too big for me to carry out by myself, so here’s what I’m thinkin’…”
I recall once when my middle-school-age son, Trey (now 20), came to me and said, “How do I KNOW God is real? I can’t see Him, I can’t touch Him. I talk to Him, but I don’t know if He responds or not! How do I know this isn’t some big SHAM?”
After explaining the intricacies of how God speaks through the wind and nature, and answers prayers in little ways, or by bringing us joy in the most unexpected places—you know, giving him the best “dad” talk ever—he still wasn’t convinced.
Thus, I went before the Lord in prayer: “Ok, God, here’s my idea,” I began, just as the disciples did. With them, Jesus replied, “YOU feed these people.” When they told the Lord this was impossible (don’t you love when WE tell GOD what is and is not possible?), He showed them different by preforming a miracle.
Continuing my prayer, I told God my idea: “You heal my back, like fully heal me (trying to get a little something out of this for myself), and then I’ll show Trey a BEFORE and AFTER x-ray of my crooked spine. BOOM! That’ll get the job done for sure.”
God must’ve chuckled, said, “That’s not a bad idea, but what about this?” and done the job much more simply.
Trey called me up a couple days later, crying. “What’s wrong buddy?” I asked.
“He showed me.”
“Who showed you WHAT?!” I replied, confused.
“God,” he said, talking through his tears. “He showed me He was real.”
Turns out Trey had been watching YouTube, and as many of us do, one video click led to another, and somehow he ended up watching a lyric video of Rich Mullins’ earth-shattering song, “Awesome God.” I’m not sure what happened during the song, but the Lord showed up at Trey’s door in a BIG way. God just wrapped His big ole arms around my son and loved him, reassuring him that, YES, He was indeed, alive.
Furthermore, God showed Trey that He loved him desperately.
I dreamed, schemed, planned and worried for NOTHING. God did it in an instant, as only He can. Same with the disciples: they wanted to send everyone away, but Jesus knew His work with this crowd wasn’t done yet.
“NO,” He seemed to say, “We’ll just feed ’em right here. It’s cool, I got this.”
And He did.
I guess the moral of this blog is: stop trying to figure things out on your own! Look to the Lord for help, and then BELIEVE He has your best interests at heart. BELIEVE He’s going to answer your prayer.
And He will…
Stay calm, God’s got this, my friend!