Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When Present Problems Obscure Past Victories

By Allen White

Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already 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.”

His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”

 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

 “Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”

He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.
Matthew 15:29-39

Wait a minute. Didn’t we already have a devotional about this? Am I reposting already? Did I take a week off? No, it was the feeding of the 5,000+ in Matthew 14:13-21.

Now one chapter later, Jesus and the disciples are faced with feeding a crowd of 4,000+. The disciples don’t know what to do. Weren’t they around for the last feeding in the previous chapter? Didn’t they remember how Jesus could multiply a sack lunch? Were they paying attention?

If we put ourselves into this situation, we would run to Jesus with the seven loaves and the fish and shout, “Lord, You have the opportunity for another great miracle. These people are hungry. We’re one fish short from last time, but you also have 1,000+ fewer people. Do your thing, Jesus.” And, Jesus would do His thing.

The problem with that scenario is none of us act that way. The present problem tends to obscure the past victories. The current sickness eclipses the past healing. The current financial problem voids the past miracle. Our problem is not our problem.

The real problem is ingratitude. When we are grateful to God for what He has given us, we are grateful for all He has given us – good or bad, wanted or unwanted. I know what you’re thinking. “Allen’s talking like a crazy person.”

While we should never presume God will just pull out a miracle every time we have a need, we also shouldn’t presume we have a limited number of wishes. God isn’t a one trick pony. And, He never gets bored helping His children.

Jesus took the seven loaves and a few small fish. Yes, the difficulty factor had increased. He blessed the food and fed a multitude. This time there were only seven baskets of food leftover.  Last time there were twelve. People often say the twelve baskets were collected one for each disciple. This time they were five baskets short. Were five of the disciples being lazy? I bet one of them was Judas.

Your current problem is Jesus’ chief concern. Remember how last time you worried and stewed until you finally exhausted yourself and got to the end of your rope? Then, you gave the thing over to God. It worked out. God came through. You didn’t starve. You didn’t die. You made it. So, what about this time?

Is God less faithful than He was before? Is God less interested? Or, have you grown forgetful?

Jump down to the end of your rope and cry out to God now. You know what He can do. He knows what you need. Are you prepared for His miracle?

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