We've all been faced with difficult circumstances, hardships and trials. In those times, it's natural to ask "why?" And even more so, our second question, even if we didn't get an answer to the first is, "What do I do?"
In the Bible, we can read of a story where circumstances were not ideal (Luke 9:12-17). The account of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish is nothing short of miraculous. Jesus was in a tough spot. He had been speaking to a group of about 5,000 men and now it was late in the day. The people were hungry.
The first obstacle - Jesus needed food for these folks who had listened to him all day. Jesus' disciples come to him to make him aware that the people are hungry... and there are no options for food nearby.
The second obstacle - All that was available was a boy's lunch, comprised of five loaves of bread and two fish.
How Jesus' chooses to handle this tough situation can give us a great example of how to encounter our own hardships or trials.
Denial comes first
The disciples, those that were closest to Jesus, first wanted to dismiss the problem by sending the crowd home hungry. Isn't that how we choose to face our problems? Bury our heads in the sand. Or... better yet, keep so busy that we can't face the problem right before us.
Money isn't always the answer
After trying to deny the problem, the disciples then try to throw money at it. Verse 13 says "we only have five loaves of bread and two fishes -- unless we go and buy food for all this crowd." How many times have we looked to our checkbook or credit cards to solve the problem or fix the circumstances? We naturally go into "fix-it" mode when problems or obstacles come up. And how many times do we think money is the answer... only to be left broke.
But Jesus brings a new approach to the problem
Work with whatcha got
Jesus takes the five loaves and two fishes. Here's this little boy who happens to offer his lunch and Jesus graciously accepts it. He didn't look at it and say, "No, thanks. It's not enough to make a difference." No, Jesus treasures the small lunch as if it was a five course meal.
We discount the little we have to offer. Many times we don't value what God gives us even in the face of trouble and obstacles. We can't wait for the next exit. We look for the immediate relief. We want to run in the opposite direction, discarding the little we do have. However, when we stand in the midst of trouble, of hardships, that's when God wants to work miracles. That's when He is asking us to accept the little we see and trust Him to turn it into something we can't imagine. We already know that Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, but he wouldn't have done that had he not accepted the lunch in the first place. Yes, there was a hurdle, an obstacle. But Jesus didn't gasp at the little he had to work with. He knew and trusted that God's power was bigger than the trial he faced. He knew God could use anything to show His glory... even five loaves and two fishes.