Now when it was evening, the disciples came to Him (Jesus) and said, "This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves." But Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." (Matthew 14:15-16)
The people of Israel were fond of remembering the days when Moses led them through the wilderness and God provided them with everything they needed, including food. The people could not farm while they were traveling toward the promised land; so God sent them manna, a kind of bread-like substance they could gather from the desert floor each day. They called this "bread from heaven"—God's miracle to provide for them.
Many years later, Jesus and the disciples were in a similar situation, with 5,000 hungry people out in a deserted place and nothing for them to eat. Being practical, the disciples suggested sending them away to find food for themselves somewhere else. Then Jesus said the really astounding thing: "They need not go away; you give them something to eat."
Sometimes it feels like God has given us Christians the same ridiculous order. You may have someone in your life that God seems to have dropped into your lap—a friend, neighbor, or family member you are attempting to care for. But their needs are so great, and your resources are so small! You are overwhelmed. I know the feeling well. We've spent 30 years trying to care for a refugee community with very few resources indeed.
So what can we do? We can be as honest as the disciples and admit, "Lord, I can't do it. I don't have the resources. You have to tell us what to do." And then we can pray and keep an eye out to see how God provides. He is able to care for us and the people we love, even today. He can give us wisdom, and He can show us the way to go.
It is right for us to turn to Jesus in every need, because as He says, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh" (John 6:51). The same Lord who gave His life for us on the cross will care for us in every need of body and spirit.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You know the needs we are facing. Please help us. Amen.
* How has God provided for your needs in the past?
* What needs are you asking God for help with right now?
* Is there someone you are caring for right now who has needs you can't meet? Take a moment to pray for them.
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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