Adventure is Out There: Day 4
Principle 4: JUST PRAY
And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.
– Matthew 14:18
Re-Read: Matthew 14:13-21
Now, before we dive in for today, glance in your Bibles or iPhones or whatever you are using to read Scripture at the passage that precedes the feeding of the five thousand. You will notice right away that that Jesus has just experienced a devastating loss. John, more widely known as John the Baptist, is widely believed to be Jesus’ cousin. Even if the two don’t share this blood relationship they certainly have shared some very special moments over the years. Mary (mother of Jesus) visits Elizabeth (John’s mother) in the early months of her pregnancy and when the women greet each other baby John leaps with joy in his mother’s womb at the presence of the baby fetus and future savior Jesus. From the beginning they are deeply connected in a powerful and profound way. When it comes time for Jesus to begin his ministry it is none other than John whom he seeks to baptize him in the waters of the Jordan. So news of his cousin’s and several of his close friends’ death would have hurt. And, of course, explains His desire to retreat to a solitary place to catch a few moments alone to grieve in private. In light of these circumstances then, it’s even more awe inspiring that Jesus, when confronted with the crowds has compassion on them.
I say all of this, because it is more than likely that Jesus is exceptionally tired and weary, not just physically from the exhaustion that comes from ministering to the crowds, but emotionally drained and still rather fragile after the fresh news of the tragedy that has befallen John. So, when it comes time to break the bread he pauses, and he gives thanks. Jesus prays. And this dear friends, is exceptionally significant.
First of all, perhaps you identify with Jesus here. Perhaps 2015 hasn’t treated you as well as you would have liked. Your soul too is tired and weary. So the thought of beginning afresh is both a relief and yet simultaneously exhausts you. How you will find the energy to set goals, chase dreams, make 2016 a banner year, when you are so bone-tired you can barely get out of bed.
Jesus finds strength in the midst of grief and exhaustion to produce, to multiply, to bring forth a miracle. And it begins with prayer.
Perhaps you are on the other side of this coin, for you 2015 was one of the best, if not THE best year to date in your life. Filled with all manner of joys and victories you are riding an incredible high, a wave of positive energy, into this New Year. In these moments, if you’re me, it’s easy to use all that hype to plow forward and conquer the year ahead with the same fervor and passion that you did the prior year. It’s here, when we feel the most competent and capable of crushing it in our own strength we are the least likely to pray and yet the most in need of it. We must never forget that there is only One capable of producing miracles, of transforming the impossible into the possible, and able to do exceedingly and abundantly supply beyond what we could ever think or imagine. Every good and perfect gift begins with a bended knee and submitted spirit, and we only achieve these two things in prayer.
So, before you set any goals or write any vision and mission statements for 2016, start with prayer. Even if all you can get manage in the midst of turmoil and tragedy is, “I hurt”; start with prayer, because it’s always the best way to start.