Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The hearers on the mountainside were weak. They could not journey any further without food. They could not make it home without fainting on the way. Did Jesus not realize what was happening? Why does He let them get so caught up in His Word that they forget the necessities of life? The truth is, He drew them out on purpose. The suffering, the pain, the fear: none of that comes from Him, but He uses it for their good. He drew them out to a hopeless point, and then He provided for them. He taught them that there is only one Place to look for sustenance. He is Hope for the hopeless.
And yet, here on the mountainside with grumbling stomachs, the pull of the flesh is so strong, our depression so intense, that our bones ache within us. Irreverent questions rise from our hearts to our lips: “So what, God? So what if you performed miracles and taught great things? So what if the future looks good? Where are you now? Where are those spiritual and emotional mountaintops? When will you multiply the loaves for me? I cry and cry up to heaven, but the clouds just roll on by.”
In our despair, what importance does this meal have for us? How can we pray for relief when it has been our prayer for so long, and for so long it has gone unanswered? How many times have we stood with Phillip: “Two hundred silver pieces worth of bread is not sufficient.” There is no hope. While we believe all that the Word says about Jesus, it seems irrelevant when the black curtain of depression and despair descends upon us.
My brothers and sisters in Christ: the overwhelming obstacles, the impossible things that have stopped mere mortals—these are nothing to God. For Him all things are possible. The victory is His. Sit down and listen. Sit down and wait. God will provide for in His own way, in His own time. He came to save you, and not only for the hereafter, but also for the now. He looked upon the five thousand men who had come to hear Him, and He had compassion upon them. He took care of them. In the same way, He sees your hurt, sorrow, and grief. He hears you cry, “Lord, I hurt.” And He replies, “I know. They hurt Me, too. But My Father delivered Me from the depths of Hell. So, too, will I deliver you. My death is sufficient. It covers all your sins. The price has been paid in full. Hang on. I love you. I am here for you where I have promised to be. I am here to serve you. Hear my Word of life, of love, of forgiveness. Come. Kneel before Me. Let Me feed you with bread that satisfies your very soul. And know this: I am coming back to get you.”
He hears you. He answers your prayers. It is not the bare minimum that He gives you, but neither does He always satisfy the cravings of your flesh. He knows what is best. Notice that He did not feed the five thousand with merely enough rations to ensure that they did not perish there on the hill side, or even just enough to get them all home again. He gave so much that each person ate until he was filled, and still there were twelve overflowing baskets left over. Where God bestows His gifts, human vessels are filled to overflowing. They cannot contain it. The grace of God is bigger than our need.
So come to Him. Hear, and your soul shall live! He gives nothing less than Himself, the Bread of life, His flesh and blood for souls conflicted and suffering under the cross and awaiting the glory to come. Soon… Soon to faithful and weary warriors, to the sad and the lonely, to the weak and heavy laden, soon comes rest. So come. Come and receive heavenly Food, miraculous Love, and Strength for the journey. Our cups overflow. God is good. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.