Miracles begin when we let go.
Jesus took two fish and five loaves of bread and fed over five thousand people. Afterward, the disciples gathered up twelve baskets of leftovers – that’s more food than they started with! (Matthew 14:15-21) As far as miracles go, this one must sit near the top of the amazing list. But there’s another miracle in this story. It comes right before the big one. When the disciples pointed out that the crowds were hungry, Jesus said, “Feed them.” Looking around at thousands of faces, young and old, men, women and children, the disciples must have been thinking, “Impossible!”
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Bring them [the loaves & fish] here to me.” And they did. There’s the miracle. I call it a human miracle, one that happens in the heart and will of a human. Facing the completely preposterous, knowing that the small lunch could never feed such a large crowd, they did what Jesus said anyway. They exercised obedience to him when everything in their experience told them it would never work. We have the benefit of knowing the rest of the story. We can read this account with the full knowledge that Jesus is setting the stage for a miracle, and the disciples are about to be blown away. They had no idea what would come next. The miracle is that they didn’t say, “Jesus, what are you going to do with a couple of fish and a few loaves?” They didn’t protest and they didn’t resist. They didn’t question or debate. They didn’t point out the illogic of their actions or the absurdity in Jesus’ request. They did what he asked them to do.
Perhaps by this point in their journey with Jesus, they had learned to trust him. Maybe they had seen enough of the unbelievable to do what he asked with a ‘let’s watch and see what happens’ attitude, but handing over trust and control is not something we do easily. Never has been. Trust and control issues stem back through the human race all the way to Adam and Eve. Facing Satan’s wiliest temptation in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve relied on their own strength and understanding. “Eat the apple,” Satan lured, “it tastes good and will make you like God.” They didn’t consult with their Father, they didn’t cry out for help. They wanted to be independent. They wanted control. They wanted to trust in themselves, to rely on their own insights and understanding. And they fell. Hard. Trust and control have always been our biggest challenges. It’s in the heart of who we are, to take upon ourselves the trust and control that really belongs in the hands of God.
It was no small miracle that the disciples transferred trust and control to Jesus late that afternoon. This went against their nature because it made much more sense to send the crowds home. They could have raised the debate, but they didn’t. The disciples handed over all they had, some bread and fish. And Jesus made sure everyone was filled.
“[Mary] his mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you… They did so and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee.”
- Name the first three things God wants you to do that you haven’t done yet.
- With a prayer, choose the one that you think is number one on the list.
- Make a plan to do this one. Give yourself a deadline for when you hope to have it completed.
- Once you’ve begun, watch to see what God will do with you obedience to him.
- Do the same for #2 & #3.