Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Divine appointments

Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.
33 But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him. 34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things. 35 When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. 36 Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.”
37 But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.”
And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”
38 But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”
39 Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. 41 And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. 42 So they all ate and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men. -Mark 6:30-43

This is the passage the Lord brought to my attention tonight, and I had to share.  Did you notice what it says in verse 31?  The disciples were living such a hectic life of ministry that they didn't even have TIME to eat!  I never noticed that before.

Have you ever felt that way, as a mother with small children?  I know I have.  I remember well those first months of motherhood, when it seemed I was fortunate if I showered and dressed in a day, and even getting food in my body was a serious challenge. I also know how easy it is to use busyness as an excuse for letting our time alone with God slide to the end of our priorities.   How awesome that we see Jesus here, challenging and encouraging the disciples to get away from the crowds for a while and seek the rest and quiet fellowship with Him that they needed.

Funny thing is, it didn't work out so well for them, did it?  I mean they TRIED to get away from the crowds, but then what happens?  The crowds FOLLOWED them.  Sheesh.   There have been times that just for the pleasure of a quiet moment, I have sought solitude....in the bathroom.  Yes, I admit it.   And even there, I have often found that little people will still come running.  Because toddlers, and little guys, just like the crowds around Jesus apparently, don't have a great understanding of BOUNDARIES. lol It can be easy in that moment to get frustrated, and wonder if there will ever come another moment where someone is not expecting you to meet a need.  That is an exaggeration, of course, but sometimes that is how it FEELS in that moment.

But I love what happens next.  Did Jesus get angry or send the people away?  No, instead we see that
Jesus saw them clearly, through compassion's eyes, and that compassion sparked ACTIONS of love toward these hurting, needy people.  Because he knew that while moments seeking the Father are a blessing and sometimes necessary, Jesus was always seeking to do the will of the Father.  And he recognized what some would consider a major inconvenience, as actually an OPPORTUNITY for God to display His love and care in a miraculous way, and also even a way to once more TEACH the disciples (and boy did they need it.) By making themselves available for God to use them in an unplanned, inconvenient way, the disciples were the ones who benefited the most, because they came to know Jesus more intimately, in seeing His power on display.  What an awesome thing it is to be used by God to bless someone else, and to be a witness to Him working in their life, using you as a vessel of honor to do His work!

While the disciples were focused solely on what resources they could physically see as available to them, Jesus had an understanding of the divine reality that He was in no way limited by the physical realm, but only by God's limitless resources of ministry.  And as He trusted the father, He was able to access what He needed in that moment to minister to those before Him.  That is the kind of relationship I want with my heavenly father.  Not a materialistic view of God, but one where I live in such sweet fellowship with Him, and awareness of His presence in my life, that I don't become impatient or unkind when my family, or others I am called to love, come to me with needs beyond my finite resources and energy.  Instead, I want to immediately take it to God in prayer, and trust Him to meet that need according to HIS will, for that person's life and for mine as well.  I want to be faithful to attempt my best to find time to get alone with God, to meditate on His word, and to be changed.  But when my efforts to get alone with Him are thwarted, I want to recognize His sovereignty in my life and receive with gratitude, not frustration, the divine appointments with people he sends my way, some of them the little people within my own home. 

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