This week we’ve been studying two of Jesus’ most famous miracles, which we read about in John 6:1-21. I don’t know which miracle is more astonishing. The feeding of the 5000 or Jesus walking on water? They’re both amazing. But notice the disciples. They have seen each of these astounding miracles…in the same day. How will they respond?
In each story, the disciples face a problem. First, how to provide food for a huge crowd. Second, what to do when they see a figure walking on the lake in the middle of a storm. Both times, the disciples demonstrate their limited view of potential solutions to the problems. In each story, the disciples’ thinking is bound by their mindset, grounded in the assumption of that the physical world is the only reality.
The disciples, however, forget who they are dealing with. In both cases, Jesus astounds them by demonstrating his unlimited view of potential solutions. Jesus helps the disciples rise above the normal human answers such as “It can’t be done,” or “There’s no hope,” allowing fear to rule us. Jesus wants us to trust in him to rise above the fears and limited views we have about life.
I love biographies, and one I read last year was about Dorothy Day, written by her daughter. In the 1900s Day started the Catholic Worker, that was one part rescue mission, one part magazine, and eventually it expanded to include numerous residences and properties around the nation and world, and is still in existence to this day. Day’s story is that of a women who placed her faith our supernatural miraculous God, depending on him to provide for the hundreds and thousands of people in her care. There were numerous awful moments when food or heat or health care was seemingly nonexistent, and the number of people asking for help was great. Sometimes a facility needed to be shut down because the Catholic Worker couldn’t pay for upkeep. Sometimes they had to turn people away because the food ran out. Or there was no more space for people to sleep. But Day trusted in our miraculous supernatural God. Though he doesn’t promise us fame and fortune and ease and comfort, we can give our needs and fears to him, knowing that he cares for us, loves us.
This past week someone asked me, “Does prayer matter?” How would you answer that question? Is prayer just for fellowship, just to ease our emotions, but doesn’t really affect anything? Is everything just determined, and prayer “changes us, not God”?
The question “Does prayer matter?” is a question about whether God interacts with us in a supernatural miraculous way. Are we praying together just to share concerns, or is there a very real care from and interaction with a supernatural God who loves us?
Isn’t prayer basically asking God to do miracles, to intervene supernaturally in our lives? Yes! God has said numerous times in his word that he wants us to bring our requests to him. Not that he is guaranteeing the supernatural miraculous result we want every time we pray. Instead, God is saying that he wants to be in relationship with us. That’s what he desires the most, our hearts, a relationship with us because he loves us. In other words, God is saying to us the future is not determined, and he wants to work with us to create that future together. Growing closer with him.
Photo by Amaury Gutierrez on Unsplash