This past weekend was rough for me. I’ve been sick for two weeks, and was looking forward to rest. In the middle the day on Friday I received a message that I would be entertaining houseguests and that they would be at my house before I even got home from work that day. Then, three of four kids got sick over Saturday night with fevers and stomach virus symptoms. Not only was I tired and sick myself, I was now up through the night nursing sick babies and cleaning up the symptoms from beds, carpet, etc. Having to prepare food and be hospitable in the middle of everything (especially when this was an unplanned visit) was not an easy task for me. On top of all of that, it has been decided that I am to host a Thanksgiving meal next week as well. Instead of looking forward to the holiday, I’m dreading it. I’ll be working long hours straight up until the night before the holiday. Finances are tight, and trying to squeeze extra groceries out of the budget to host people here is making me feel very stressed. And, as commercials and marketing media are constantly reminding me, Christmas is right around the corner. Yet another holiday for me to spend working, cooking, cleaning, and trying to find a way to squeeze gifts for everyone out of a budget that is stretched to the max.
I cannot stop asking myself, “HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET THROUGH THIS?”
I am well aware how whiny and self-indulgent these thoughts are. But they’re real and they’re my current struggles.
So, reading John 6, here’s how the Holy Spirit spoke to me in my self-pity mode.
This crowd of 5,000 people has gathered to listen to Jesus. We don’t really know where they all came from, or why they all ended up there being unprepared to feed themselves, but for whatever reason that was the situation. The disciples – who have been watching Jesus heal the sick and perform countless other miracles – start getting all worked up about how they were going to feed this crowd. Jesus just has them get all the people sat down and commands that the five loaves and two fish be broken and distributed.
Can you even imagine this scene? 5k+ people and 5 loaves of bread with 3 fishes.
But after the food was passed around, there were leftovers.
The people in the crowd, having eaten their fill of this miraculous meal, tracked Jesus down the next day. Jesus admonished them saying,
Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
Why is it that I continue to doubt God’s faithfulness? Why do I wonder how we will eat, or how we will make it through another rough time? Hasn’t he shown me over and over again that he provides for us? Haven’t I seen miracles in my own life and in my family’s lives over and over again?
Lord, thank you for providing our daily needs. Thank you for your abundant grace. Forgive my doubt and worry. Turn my focus to the food that endures and never perishes. Let me desire the bread of life more than I desire material things. Thank you for your words in scripture and for brothers and sisters in Christ constantly encouraging and praying with me.