The story of Jesus miraculously multiplying the bread and feeding four or five thousand people has been told to any child attending Sunday school enough times that it can lose its impact at a fairly young age.
Last night I flipped open my Bible to the bookmark, and there we were, at the feeding of the four thousand. I wasn’t confident that new life was going to be breathed into that one for me, which just shows my lack of faith.
However, I prayed for some fresh insight, and sure enough, it was right there waiting for me.
I started reading about how Jesus had been teaching crowds of people, but everyone was getting hungry. The disciples wanted Him to send everybody home, but Jesus said, “I can’t send them home without food – they will faint.”
I really hate to admit it, but for years, it has seemed as though my default setting in regards to prayer, and miraculous intervention from Jesus, has been to believe that He will always choose the hardest option for me to go through. I can pray for deliverance in times of trouble, but deep down, without even consciously realizing it at first, I really believe that He will do “what’s best for me”, which will, in my mind, always be the hardest option.
What is “good for me” will be the hard road, because it will develop my character, and strengthen me, and develop lovely things like perseverance.
I somehow keep falling back on seeing God as an “Oatmeal God” – while everybody else around me is having Fruit Loops for breakfast, my Father makes me eat oatmeal – without any sugar – because it’s good for me.
So I eat oatmeal until I feel like I can’t bear waiting any longer for a miraculous change in hard circumstances, and someone is always guaranteed to come along and say, “God will never give you more than you can bear.” I am so tired of hearing people say that, for two reasons:
- It often feels as though God is giving me more than I can bear.
- Ben says that this idea is not actually Biblical. The Bible doesn’t promise that, but it does promise that God will give us the strength we need to face life’s troubles.
So I carry on with my oatmeal that’s good for me, longing for a miracle, but knowing that it’s better for me to keep plugging, even if I get very weary along the way.
But I read about Jesus standing up for his people. “We can’t send them home! They’re too hungry, and they will faint. It is too much for them to bear.” They had human limits that Jesus knew about, and cared about, and provided for….in the most unexpected way.
He can be trusted. He doesn’t just relentlessly keep pushing me until I break, all for the sake of growing my faith.
He care about my limits, provides for my needs.
He makes something out of nothing, for the deliverance of His people.
He looks down on me fainting with hunger, or sick of my oatmeal, and He doesn’t heartlessly say, “Oh, well, it’s good for you.”
At just the right time, never late and never early, He will deliver me. And it will all be worth it.
It always is. Those Fruit Loops taste so much better after all that oatmeal.