Friday, February 22, 2013

His broken body feeds my soul

So I haven't written on here in over a year...but I felt like writing an entry about something I have been thinking about lately.

I love the way you can read the Bible and the same stories you have heard so many times can teach you something new. I also love talking to friends about the Word of God and hearing about the things they are learning from it. This entry flows from both of these things and what I have been learning from the same story in the Bible.

Jesus feeds the five thousand, and then a couple chapters later he feeds the four thousand. All four gospels mention the feeding of the five thousand, and both Matthew and Mark also talk about Jesus feeding the four thousand. Jesus also talks about this with His disciples on the boat and they are really confused and don't quite understand. Being the math dork that I am, I have tried to figure out a pattern between the number of loaves & fishes and baskets of each that were left over and how many people were fed. All I have figured out is that Jesus has less bread & fish to feed the five thousand, but there were more baskets of broken pieces leftover. But more importantly, it shows that Jesus provides.

I have loved discovering the deeper meanings behind what Jesus is doing. Growing up, Jesus feeding so many people was this cool story of Jesus doing a miracle, so it revealed His power. There are lots of miracles to show that. However, there is something more Jesus is showing His disciples and the people He is feeding, and to me now.

My friend Rae read this story recently and saw something in it that encouraged her, and has encouraged me as well. As the crowd gathers, the disciples ask Jesus to send them away. However, He tells them to feed the people. They make a remark about how they don't have food for the people, or money to buy enough food to feed them all. So He asks them to find out what they do have. They come back with some loaves of bread and a few fish. Jesus takes it, blesses it and then breaks it and gives it to the disciples to give to the people. Jesus takes what the disciples have, what little it may be, and breaks it apart, then hands it back to them to give to the people. And they all ate and were satisfied. Jesus doesn't expect us to have everything to offer to people. He simply takes what we have and He is the one who provides. We simply get to be the ones to pass it out.

I loved hearing that. I do not have much to give other people, but what I do have, Jesus multiples for me to give them. Ultimately, what I have to offer is Jesus. He is the bread of life, and He will give me what they need if I simply go to Him for it. He will give me the words to speak, the grace to offer others, and the love to pour out even when I feel like I have nothing to offer. He is the one who provides.

A little bit after Jesus feeds the thousands of people, He comes back to explain how He is the bread. We see Him breaking bread again at Passover with His disciples before He goes to be crucified. He is the bread that is broken for us. His body is broken so that our hungry souls can be filled.

The line that sticks out to me in the story is how "they all ate and were satisfied." Everyone was satisfied and there are still leftovers...more than enough. Honestly, I have heard so many times that Jesus is more than enough and He truly satisfies. Sometimes I wrestle to believe that. We are all hungry, especially in our souls. Every day we search for something to deal with this hunger, yet it never seems like enough. When Jesus feeds the people, there are baskets full of leftovers.

I want to be satisfied in Jesus. John Piper says "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." At times I feel like I have truly experienced this satisfaction. I know that He alone can satisfy, but sometimes I still feel this deep hunger. In those times, I often look to other things to try to fill that hunger. Sometimes it is actually food that I look to for comfort. Chipotle sounds good to me on almost any day, but sometimes I just want some Chipotle and hope it will somehow do something for the yearning in my soul. It is pretty good and satisfies my physical hunger, but not much beyond that. Most often, I look to relationships and friendships to fill this longing in my soul, yet it never truly satisfies and I am often left disappointed. Don't get me wrong - I have lots of incredible friends who I am so grateful for, who love me, encourage me and support me in so many ways. The problem comes when I look to them to be for me what only Jesus can be. I have a lot to say about the heartache and frustration that brings, not to mention how I have hurt the people I care about and damaged relationships by turning them into idols. Jesus is the one I desperately need, the only one who can truly satisfy the desires of my heart and soul.

I love Psalm 107:9: "For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things." My favorite verse also talks about this in Ecclesiates 3:11: "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." God has placed eternity in our hearts - a desire for Him and Him alone, one that only He can truly satisfy.

And what I find completely amazing, is how Jesus continues to pursue me, even with my wandering heart. Every time I choose to chase my own desires and find life, security, comfort, or my identity in things other than Him, He reveals my sin and idolatry, but also pours His mercy and grace upon me, inviting me back to Him arms. His love never fails and His mercies never cease. This relentless love and grace beckons me to come and rest. To eat, drink and be satisfied. I pray that God would continue to change my heart, to refine it so that is desires Him and Him alone.

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