I can’t imagine the kind of pressure the disciples felt when they realized they had a crowd of hungry people in front of them needing to be fed. I feel enough pressure when I have to feed my three kids with a fully-stocked pantry when Carrie is out. I wouldn’t know what to do with thousands of mouths to feed and no Chick-fil-A in sight.
Chances are we will never be faced with feeding 5,000 people, but that doesn’t mean we don’t face our own personal dilemmas at one time or another. Whether it’s stress at work or home that is too much to handle or a particular burden on your heart that makes you feel like you are going to crumble under the weight of your circumstances, if we respond to pressure in the right way, God’s way, it can make us better, and it can make us stronger.
In John 6:1-14, we read about the feeding of the 5,000. Through this picture of the disciples under pressure and the miracle that follows, God shows us who He is and what He wants us to do when we are going through pressure in our own lives. Here are three lessons you can take away:
1. There is no problem to big for God to solve.
You’ll notice that Jesus knew their need before they did. He knew the people were hungry and He knew exactly how He was going to remedy the situation, but He watched the disciples to see how they would respond. He was testing them. Every once in a while, God will put you through a test. He is going to set you up so that you might make choices, make decisions based upon what you feel like you should do and what you know you should do. Will you exhaust yourself planning and calculating a solution on your own? Or will you first consult Christ?
Often when we feel the worry meter going up, we turn to our own devices. And only when we’ve exhausted all of our other options do we consider Jesus. We go to Him as our last resort instead of our first resource. I am convinced that Jesus was a lot more concerned with the disciples’ lack of faith than He was the lack of food. Remember: a lack of resources never stops God, but a lack of faith can keep God from intervening in our lives. If the problem is too big for you, just remember it is never too big for God. Go to Him first.
2. There is no person too small for God to use.
Did a well-respected and well-known philanthropist come through and provide the food for the crowd? No, it was a little boy who had the equivalent of five saltine crackers and two sardines. He was a nobody, who barely had enough to feed himself, but Jesus used Him to impact the lives of thousands of men, women, and children. Why didn’t Jesus pick someone important? Because worldly importance doesn’t matter. He chose the boy because the child, who had never met Him, believed Jesus could do great things with his tiny contribution, so he transferred it to Jesus and watched it be transformed.
The disciples were focused on the problem, but the boy was focused on Jesus. When you face pressure in your life, if you focus on the problem, you are only going to the problem. But if you focus on the Lord, you will see the way out. If you want to transform your finances, give them to God. Start tithing, saving, and spending the way He wants you to and He will show you the way out. If you want to transform your marriage, seek God’s face every single day to ask Him to do what only He can do in your relationship. Anything you want to transform in your life, simply give it to Him. Focus on Him. When your focus on God becomes greater than your focus on the problem, He will reward your childlike faith and work a miracle in your life.
3. There’s no pressure too great for God to sustain.
No only did Jesus transform a tiny meal fit for a child to be fit for thousands, he even had leftovers! That tells us that Jesus is not only all that we need; He is more than we need. There is no pressure or problem that we can bring before God that He will not provide us the strength to endure. I love what Jerry Falwell said: “God will never place any more ON you than what He hasn’t already placed WITHIN you the strength to bear it up.” As Christians, when the pressure is on, we don’t have to be hard-hearted and thick-skinned to get through it. In Ephesians 1:5, it says we are blessed with every spiritual blessing from Christ Jesus, which tells us we have everything we need if we only appropriate the power of God within us to equal the pressure that is coming from the outside.
Ask yourself: Are you focusing on God’s power and promises today? Or are you focusing on your problems? Start focusing on the Lord and the miracle will come into view.