Jesus Knows Our Every Need
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. (John 6:10–13)
In our verses for today, the good Shepherd fleshes out David’s words in Psalm 23:
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
Jesus had compassion for the masses following Him. The people were weary and they were hungry and they were in need of restoration. Like rain on a parched land, Jesus restores our spent spirits and weary bodies. There is, quite simply, no one to which we can compare Him. He is the ultimate restorer of our souls.
Jesus gives instructions to have the people sit down in the soft, green grass. Our God is a God of order and not confusion. Chaos and disorder belong to Satan’s realm. From the stars in the sky, to the seasons in each year, to the songbirds, to the seas, God’s order permeates. I wonder if Satan likes to hold us in chaos and confusion in order to hinder us from thinking; to keep us from delving deeper into the ways of God. Distractions from what is truly important are rampant in our day and age. From the headphones blaring, to the cell phones ringing, to the television blasting; there is rarely a time when silence and tranquility prevail. Yet, God calls His children to this treasure. It is in the stillness that we are able to intently hear His “still small voice.”
I am reminded of the prophet Elijah who had an extreme mountaintop experience with God. Soon after he found himself fleeing, hotly pursued by Jezebel who wanted to take his life. Spent physically, emotionally, and spiritually he heads for Horeb, the mountain of God. God sent an angel to strengthen him and he traveled 40 days to meet with His Maker.
And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. (1 Kings 19:9–13)
While God certainly can be in the wind and in the earthquake and in the fire, He thankfully most always lovingly speaks to His children through the gentle whisper of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Oftentimes, unfortunately, our busyness robs us of this intimacy.
It is important that we do not let our lives become so busy and distracted that we are unable to get off to a solitary place to meditate and pray, enjoying the company of our Creator. Even in Jesus’ life, the early hour was the most conducive for this high privilege. We find in the book of Mark the habit of our Savior:
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35)
If this was our Savior’s custom, how much more should it be ours?
In our verses for today, we find Jesus giving thanks for the provision before the food is distributed. I think it is important to note that thankfulness and praise precede the miraculous here.
The crowds had been satisfied when Jesus issued the following direction to His disciples: “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” It is comforting to know that our God is not a God of waste. He does not waste bread fragments, He does not waste our experiences, He does not waste the broken pieces of our lives, He does not waste our failures. Instead, He miraculously weaves together all things in His children’s lives–even the poor choices allowed by His permissive will–into a beautiful tapestry which brings glory to Him. Out of our darkest experiences the brightest light can dawn for those who love Him. God works for His children’s good as we gather the broken pieces of our lives and give them back to Him. That is the glorious promise of Scripture which Paul penned in Romans:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
God can even take our meager sacrifices and turn them into abundance. With the young lad’s giving of two small fish and five little loaves God fed more than 5000 people, and there were twelve baskets leftover.
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Our satisfaction and sufficiency lies in God and God alone. Until we are able to grasp that truth we will always find ourselves wanting, no matter how much of the world’s temporal treasures we may possess. Our Maker knows how we are made and therefore knows our every need–emotional, physical, and spiritual and it is His desire to overflow our cups with Him.
Take It to Heart
“Somehow in the wonder-working providence of God, our worst problems become our best pulpits. God turns our tragedies into testimonies and our emergencies into evangelism. Our testimonies are forged and crafted in the trials of life, our pain has an evangelistic purpose, our problems become His pulpits, and the things that happen to us turn out for the furtherance of the gospel.”(Robert Morgan)