Feeding the Four Thousand: Faith and Trust No Matter What
“His disciples answered, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?’”
Dear Family & Friends,
There is a reason I have five children, although it may not be the typical reason that people have large families. I have come to believe that God gave me five because it took a long time for me to get it through my thick skull that I could trust Him. The disciples needed to believe that Jesus would have no trouble feeding the four thousand hungry people stuck in a remote place, and I also needed to learn to have faith in Him too – no matter what!
Four Babies in Five Years
It took a while for me to get pregnant with baby numero uno, so when the test came out positive it was a happy day! About three months in I had an episode where I thought I had lost him. By God’s grace Luke survived and was born strong and healthy in September of 1992.
Five months later another pregnancy test was positive. Two weeks before Emily’s due date in mid-November I had some concerning symptoms that showed my blood platelet count had dropped drastically. This resulted in numerous tests and an early C-section.
The third child announced himself two years later. This pregnancy sent me to a specialist in Columbus with more blood problems. Eight months after John-Keith’s March birth, Nathan was on the way. Some tests this time showed the possibility that he would have some birth defects. We praised the Lord that this concern proved untrue.
Four children in five years, and I was a nervous wreck. So when I found myself pregnant a fifth time, I made a decision. This time, no matter what, I would trust the Lord and enjoy the pregnancy. That I did! Sweet Abigail was born in October of 2001.
Jesus’ Disciples Lack of Faith
I laugh now as I think back on how it took so long for me to relax and trust. I was always knotted up with worry and fear. However, I am not the only one with this problem. Jesus’ disciples also seemed to take forever to understand the power of their Master. They watched Him perform all sorts of miracles and gaped in amazement at His bountiful provision, but when the next crisis came they were again perplexed.
After setting a young girl free from an indwelling demon, Jesus went up on a mountainside near the Sea of Galilee. A great crowd followed Him bringing all of their sick and infirmed. The people rejoiced in awe and pleasure as He healed each one.
Feeding the Four Thousand
As the sun rose high in the sky on the third day, Jesus called His disciples to Him. “I have compassion for these people,” He said, “they already have been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”
Considering the fact that the disciples had already seen Jesus feed five thousand people on another occasion, you would think they would immediately stand ready to take orders. But instead they asked, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”
Where had they been the last time Jesus fed a large group of hungry people? Where had I been through four pregnancies that presented numerous difficulties? How long does it take to finally surrender our fears, concerns, and perplexities to the Lord?
In response to Jesus’ question about available provisions, the disciples brought Him seven loaves and a few small fish. After blessing the meager fare, Jesus broke them and asked the disciples to distribute the pieces to the crowds now seated on the ground. As before, feeding the four thousand was simple for Jesus. Every person finished the meal satisfied, and with seven baskets of leftovers to spare.
Faith is Crucial for Our Relationship with God
Faith is crucial for our relationship with God! Yet as humans we often struggle to trust our heavenly Father. We know that life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to – there are hungry people out there and pregnancies don’t always go as hoped – but true faith supersedes our understanding. If we are willing, God promises to reveal Himself to us in the difficulties, and as we get to know Him we will grow more and more confident that His loving ways are best. Still, sometimes, like me, it takes us a long time to let go and relax!
I am so glad I have five children! I would never give one of them back. But I am mostly glad that God used their births to teach me to trust Him more. The question is: how will I . . . how will WE respond to the next crises?
Will it be worry and fear, or faith and trust, no matter what?
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