They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”
The disciples were realists. They were quick to inform Jesus of how little they had.
Only is a word I’ve uttered quite often in my prayers to God. I only have a little energy today. I only had 3 hours of sleep last night.
Maybe your situation is more dire. Perhaps you (or a loved one) has been given only 6 months to live. Maybe you only have $100 to your name to last the next two weeks.
We see lack.
And this is normal. We live in a physical body, in a physical world, with physical limitations. But there’s a truth that we need to remember:
We see lack. But Jesus sees potential.
Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. – Matthew 14:15-21
The disciples saw the situation for what it was. They were in a desolate place with only enough food for a few people. Jesus wasn’t worried. His words?
“Bring them here to me.”
What’s your “lack” situation today? What’s the one area where you’ve been wondering, “Why won’t God answer my prayer?” Will you “bring it” – surrender it – to Him?
Only He can transform a hopeless situation into something beautiful.
Only He can give us something freely that we cannot get for ourselves.
This leads me to the next amazing truth…
We think there’s not enough, but our Father owns everything and can give us anything.
Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live… – Isaiah 55:1-2
Listening to God transforms “not enough” into more than we could ever need… enough to experience delight!
Let’s look at one more passage concerning this truth.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us… – Ephesians 3:20
This final truth is the most powerful of all. Not only is God able to give us what we pray for, but…
He can do MUCH more than we are able to ask for or imagine!
You may be thinking, “Okay, so I know God has the power to give me whatever I need or want, and even more. So why hasn’t He done it?”
This is a tough question, and one that I don’t have all the answers for. But I do have a few ideas to consider.
1. You don’t really need it.
Sometimes, when we’re praying for something, we think it’s a need when it’s actually not. Remember God’s promise in Philippians 4:19, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Maybe God knows that giving you the thing you are praying for would take you further away from Him. Or maybe the next point is true…
2. God is using your difficult situation for something great.
Maybe, just maybe, something BIG is happening behind the scenes. God could be preparing you to minister to others in a huge way. When you go through difficulty or tragedy, you will be able to help people in the same situation. This is a huge blessing that you would not have experienced otherwise.
God doesn’t cause bad things to happen, but He can use these bad things to make you stronger spiritually!
This is 2 Corinthians 13:3-2 in action. I love love love this passage!
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
This last point may be controversial, but I think it’s important.
3. You aren’t living in total submission to His plan.
At least consider this as a possibility. I’m not saying that any difficulty in your life is your fault – what I am saying is: use this struggle as an opportunity to evaluate your life.
Whatever your struggle is, take it to the Word. For example:
- Are your relationships strained? Read what the Bible says about how to treat others, and make sure you’re implementing this wisdom.
- Are your finances a mess? The Bible shares wisdom about how to steward your money wisely.
- Is your health suffering? Believe it or not, the Bible addresses this as well! Try eating and caring for your body the way He instructs – you may be surprised at the outcome! Read this book for more details.
- Are you unhappy? The Bible includes advice on how to focus on gratitude! I love this book on being more thankful for little things.
Related Post: “One (Major) Mistake We Overlook That Affects Everything”
It’s going to take time, but if you try to live out God’s instructions as closely as possible – your problems may just be eliminated!
Maybe your situation doesn’t fit with any of these explanations. Maybe you’ve been living out God’s plan, but you can’t see any way your situation could become a blessing. But remember, Satan is a defeated foe. We will gain the victory if we do not lose heart!
Remember, if you’re lacking something, your greatest blessing could be just around the corner.
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Are you lacking anything in your life today? How can I pray for you?