We wish you a very blessed new year and as we prepare to ring in 2024, we share a word of encouragement from our latest story. As in the previous year as well as in the next and in all the years to come, take heart in the knowledge that you are always and forever, enough.
I recently woke up one morning with a heavy heart, anxious thoughts swirling in my mind the moment I opened my eyes, weighing oppressively like a blanket. This in itself wasn’t unusual as I had been grappling with a stressful personal situation that had been taking an extensive physical and mental toll. But that particular morning the glass was looking even emptier than usual.
As I trudged over to my desk for a daily moment of reflection and bible reading, my mind was consumed with worries and grumblings. I had been reading through the book of John and the morning’s passage focused on John 6 where Jesus and his disciples feed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. I had read this passage countless times, heard it referenced in sermons and popular culture alike, and was ready to blaze through the reading, say my prayers, and get on with the order of the day: survival.
And yet, on that heavy morning, those all too familiar verses read a little differently. When Jesus asked his disciples, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” (John 6: 5) All I heard echoed in my mind was the same paraphrased question directed towards my own troubled circumstances: “How on earth am I going to get through this?” My mind was racing and there seemed to be no end or solution to the problems that stood between me and breakfast.
Our lives are filled with these “how am I going to get through this” moments. The moments that build and erupt when things seem to be spiraling out of our control and our circumstances look increasingly bleak. In these moments our souls desperately cry out but relief seems to be nowhere in sight.
As they looked upon a hungry crowd, Jesus and his disciples were staring down their own “how am I going to get through this” moment.
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
(John 6: 8-10)
In other words, it doesn’t take a fisherman to know that five loaves and two fish aren’t going to cut it. Yet we each have our “five loaves and two fish”. The things we can muster by way of solutions that seem so laughably inadequate in proportion to our problems that we become even more overwhelmed by the feeling that everything is too much and we are not nearly enough.
And yet, in the midst of despair comes the miracle.
Jesus gave thanks, broke the bread and fish, and had twelve baskets of leftovers after every one had eaten their fill. Jesus then instructed the remainders to be picked up so that nothing was wasted (John 6: 11-14).
In an impossible situation, Jesus used a humble offering to create an abundance beyond imagination. Though the disciples were increasingly desperate, Jesus had always known the answer to the ‘how’. The problem was not to be solved through the disciples’ efforts, but by Christ alone. He met the need and went beyond it, continuing to feed hungry stomachs and, ultimately, hungry souls.
I had been consumed by my problems that morning, thinking of my own paltry five loaves and two fish. It was all about me. I had to find the solutions. I had to gather the resources. I had to force everything to work out. But in truth, Jesus already knows how to meet us in our most hopeless moments and His plans and ways pave the road to victory. It is never about what we can do, but solely about what He will do and trusting that in Christ, all things are possible.
Our offering of five loaves and two fish is enough, because Christ on the cross is the ultimate offering. Through Christ’s sacrifice we are always and forever enough.
I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst…All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
(John 6: 35-38)
As I reflected on Jesus’ provision, my racing inner monologue started to slow. I had been so caught up in my worries and fears that I had overlooked the simple yet fundamental truth. Despite my humble offering, I was in capable, loving hands. With even a mustard seed of faith my Father would provide a mountain of abundance. And in my clarity I could recount so many instances when the Lord had provided generously in my times of need and ultimately revealed His glory – how trivial were my worries in comparison to His great love, guiding me through the darkness.
The morning’s heaviness gave way to humbled reflection and contemplation. No, my problems weren’t magically solved, nor had my loaves and fish suddenly multiplied. But despite everything, my original desperation turned to gratitude for the future victory that was promised. Even if I couldn’t see it at that moment, I knew it was there. ‘How am I going to get through this’ turned to a grateful and hopeful, ‘Lord, how will You shine though this?’ Because He always has, He always does, and He always will.
Kathryn is the founder of That’s What She. After years spent roaming through the wilderness, she met Christ in her 20’s and hasn’t looked back. An avid lover of storytelling and prone to run-ons, she hopes to embark on this journey with all of you and see the goodness of God in the land of the living (Psalm 27).
That’s What She is a platform with a mission to connect women through the power of gospel rooted storytelling. Have a story to tell or need prayer? We’d love to hear from you. And join us on Facebook, and Instagram to get the latest stories, updates, and more.