I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar. — Mark 8: 2-3
I’m a grateful recovering alcoholic and I have no shame in saying that. I’m actually quite enchanted with the irony that a 12-step program brought me back to God after nearly two decades in the wilderness. It just reminds me that God really does work all things together for the good.
One of the things I’ve learned during my sobriety journey is to stick around until the miracle happens. You see when someone comes through the doors on their first day they are usually pretty sick. Spiritually. Mentally. And often physically. And there is no way they can understand the miracles that could happen if they give it time, have some faith and follow a simple plan of action.
The idea that someday, some way, they too will experience the promise to live a happy, joyous and free life seems like such a far cry many balk at it. One member recalled on her four-year anniversary a time when she was new and suggested a topic for the meeting, “Why the Promises are BS,” and how wrong she was. It had come true for her!
But it does feel that way when you’re in a dark place in life. Like the promises of God will never happen. How could we experience abundance when we look at our bank account and don’t know how the bills will get paid? How can we believe all things are working together for our good when everything around us seems to be falling apart? How can we accept God’s love for us when we don’t even love ourselves?
I’m sure the 4,000 people in the wilderness may have been wondering the same thing too. Three days with nothing to eat, listening to Jesus’ wise teaching and all the while their bellies grumbling. No Panera in sight!
Knowing human nature is the same today as it was back then I am certain after the first day some of the crowd left. They had heard enough. They had to get back to their lives. They had to eat. What was wrong with these other people? How long did they plan to stay and listen to this prophet?
I imagine that some stayed on for two days. They weathered a night out in the wilderness (4,000 people camping out would be a miracle in my book!) and the next day they listened again. Still no food. And no showers. No deodorant. I admit I might have left by then too. I can’t blame them.
However, despite the inconveniences and the hunger and the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements some stayed on for three days. I know there is power in three and this is no exception. Three day fast. Three days of denying the body and feeding the spirit. And then…something magical, miraculous happens.
Jesus feeds them.
You see this is, to me, the biggest lesson in the New Testament. A shift from thinking first of the physical realm and then the spiritual to reversing it. Think first of the spiritual realm and let the physical take care of itself. It’s the lower energy field. Why focus on it too much?
Jesus says in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say unto you, Take NO thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”
What does it mean NO thought. It means, “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got it. I’m picking up the tab. You don’t have to figure it out.”
If Jesus would have put together a focus group, and had them brainstorm ways to feed themselves, no idea is a bad idea type thinking, just write it down, do you EVER think they would have said, “Hey, what if we had Jesus take those few loaves and fish and just multiply them? Yeah, that could work!”
They would have NEVER thought of that. I mean seriously. Would you have? There is no physical reality that would suggest that would be possible. So the lesson is, why worry? Miracles can and do happen. Regularly.
If you don’t go home and try to figure it out yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Step out in faith into your own personal wilderness and be willing to listen to the voice of God. Trust that He won’t let you down. He won’t send you home starving. He won’t let you faint.
Day 16 Lenten Love Prayer:
I am tired of relying on my own strength. I have been self-sufficient for so long. I am ready to step out in faith and walk into the wilderness where I have to rely on you to provide for me. Help me to trust that you care for me. That you won’t let me faint. That if you provide for the birds of the air You will provide for me too. I am willing to do my part. I will learn what I need to learn, and seek out a mentor who can help me and take the necessary steps in this physical realm to support the spiritual breakthrough I am seeking. But I know that it is not my doing that will cause this miracle. It’s my investment of time meditating on Your Word, it’s my commitment to prayer and my desire to seek first Your kingdom, that I know all these things will be added unto me. Why? Because you promised it. I am so grateful that I am not alone. Give me the stamina and persistence to stay the course and not walk home before the miracle happens.
Day 16 Scripture:
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. — Isaiah 40:31