As my husband and I move on in our journey finding a new church community, I have mixed feelings. I am sad at yet again saying good bye to folks we've come to love. I am angry that we find it necessary to leave a church community once again due to what appears to be insurmountable walls. I am also experiencing feelings of desperation in thinking we will never find a new faith community and will be forever wandering. I recently prayed to the Lord to grant me a dream or vision so I would know for sure where to find our new church home. During my devotional time I was drawn to look at John 6:1-14. It is the familiar story of Jesus' feeding of the five thousand. I have read this passsage many times and have even preached on this text. However, as is so true of God's word, we never exhaust the possibilities of meaning for a so-called "familiar" story. John mentions that the people were drawn to Jesus because they "saw" the miraculous signs he had performed which included healing the sick and multiplying the loaves and fish. (John 6:2,14) The people didn't see the deeper spiritual truths that Jesus was teaching but rather they focused on their physical, immediate needs. John goes on to tell us that when Jesus saw the crowd He recognized their physical needs but also knew there existed an unspoken spiritual hunger. How would His disciples see what was happening? In the larger context of the actual feeding are the reactions of His disciples, in particular Philip and Andrew. Jesus already knowing what He was going to do, tested His disciples to discover what kind of "eyesight" they possessed regarding this situation. (John 6:5-6) It appears both Philip and Andrew were right there with Jesus when He asked the question, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" (John 6:5) Philip's response was one of defensiveness flowing from fear of not knowing what to do, "Eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" (John 6:7) Philip saw an overwhelming task. It is interesting that Philip like the other people who followed Jesus must have witnessed the same miracles that Jesus performed yet Philip did not move beyond his limited vision. He did not make that connection to who Jesus really was but focused on the immediate material needs. On the other hand, Andrew saw the possibilities and did not become defensive or dismissive of the situation but immediately spoke up to offer a solution. Although Andrew did not know how the limited amount of food would meet all the people's needs he was open to see what Jesus would do. (John 6:8) Jesus wasn't satisfied with multiplying just enough for the people to eat but rather went above and beyond with leftovers to spare!(John 6:10-13) I am reminded of one of my favorite doxologys from Ephesians 3:20-21, "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." After meditating on this passage I found myself asking the question which one of those disciples am I? Am I Philip who is overwhelmed by what I see as impossible odds? Have I forgotten God's faithfulness in the past and how He has worked in and through every situation and circumstance? Or am I Andrew, recognizing the seemingly impossible odds stacked against me yet knowing that in the Lord's hands nothing is impossible. God will do above and beyond all I can ask or imagine. I confess that at this present time I feel more like a Philip seeing with limited vision and like the crowds following Jesus, asking for a miraculous sign. However, the Lord already knows what He is going to do and is testing me to trust Him. I am challenged to see with unobscured vision what Jesus is going to do. What about you? Are you like Philip focused only on what's in front of you? Or are you like Andrew, daring to see beyond your immediate circumstances and trusting the Lord to take the small amount of faith that you have to offer and multiplying it beyond your imagination? May the Lord open the eyes of our hearts so we may clearly "see" Him move in our lives.
Peace & Blessings,