When Problems Overwhelm

In John’s Gospel, the sixth chapter, a “great crowd of people” were coming towards Jesus and his disciples. Upon seeing this and knowing that the crowd of people would be tired and hungry, Jesus asks his disciple Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” We are told that Jesus asked Philip this question in order to “test” him. And we will find that Philip’s response would mostly likely be similar to our own: “Eight month’s wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Philip, like us, was looking at this problem (or opportunity) in terms of human understanding or thinking. Jesus however, had a divine solution in mind. The feeding of the 5,000 is the fourth of the seven signs of Jesus in the Gospel of John. 

Do you have a problem that you are trying to solve based on your own limited human understanding? So often we take matters into our own hands without going to God and trusting his guidance for a solution to our problem. We stare up at our “mountain” of problems and we become overwhelmed and frustrated when things don’t work out as we had planned. We fear that the climb up the mountain is too steep and dangerous and we begin to lose all hope. If you are facing small problems or monumental problems, turn to the God of hope as you begin to pour out your problems and lay out your fears before Him. Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Trust in God and follow the leading of God’s Holy Spirit and you will be filled with a peace that is beyond any human understanding. God doesn’t promise that our journey along the way will be quick, easy, or without some pain on our part. What He does promise however, is that He will be with you and will guide you every step of the way. God has already solved your problem; He is just waiting for you to trust Him and to follow Him. Deuteronomy 31:8: The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Prayer: God, help me to trust in you and in your will for my life. Help me to not be afraid of what the future holds and to not be anxious over the many worries of life. Give me peace in my heart to trust you and to follow you, knowing that you have already worked out a solution to my problem(s) in advance. Help me to trust you completely and to have a strong faith that can move mountains. Amen.

John 6:1-15 (NIV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

6 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 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.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

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