I stared at my bank account register on the computer screen. The memory of this prayer interrupted my logical and mathematical stream of thought, like an out-of-place conversation. It was part of a prayer that a stranger prayed over me several years ago. I looked at the bank account, then thought of the prayer. Bank account, prayer. Tangible, unexplainable. They seemed irreconcilable, like my bank account.
I’m not so great with numbers Lord, but things are not adding up.
Having recently become a single person with two children still at home, finances have been more than impossible.
I clicked out of the balance sheet and looked up the miracle feeding reference (John 6:1-13). How exactly did the disciples respond when Jesus said, “Hey, why don’t you guys just give this crowd something to eat? We can’t send them away now!”
If you read behind the lines of the exchange between Jesus and the disciples, there is a hint of sarcasm and overstating the obvious. In the background I hear something like, “Oh, sure, I’ll just whip out my checkbook and buy everybody pizza and wings! Are you serious? That would cost me my whole year’s salary!”
This is what the best teachers do for their students; they set up a learning experience instead of a lecture. Jesus’ learning experience included an impossible task and a miraculous outcome. He didn’t say, “Step aside boys, while I show you how it’s done!” Instead, he brought them in as part of the solution, as ridiculous as it seemed to them. He seriously wanted their input and participation in this miracle.
I put my own sarcastic thoughts on hold and ran upstairs to read and pray with my son at bedtime. My son is ten, and still lives to obey me. I turned to Galatians where we had been reading each night, but he surprised me by reaching up and grabbing the Bible out of my hands.
“Mom, let’s read something else tonight.”
I guess Galatians was boring him, or all that talk about circumcision was maybe a little embarrassing.
“I’m going to read from Matthew 14 instead,” he said, sounding very professor-like and parental.
“This is the story about the feeding of the five thousand.”
I muffled a nervous laugh and felt like someone had been snooping around in my mind. Somehow taking care of the three of us, or 5,000, is just the same to the Lord. It is never short of miraculous.
There is a second feeding of the multitudes recorded in the Scriptures (Mark 8:8), with a few less challenges from the disciples. Maybe they decided to keep their mouths shut and just start looking for those extra baskets.
by Jennifer Cleveland, A Quiet Writer