It has not been the easiest or calmest summer. But I’m not going to lie and say it’s been a bad summer. In fact, it’s been wild, scary, busy, and exhausting, but it’s also been my favorite summer.
The past few weeks have been great. I’m still tired and busy and doing new things, but everything has been going really well. I’ve had awesome moments with Jesus, have met some amazing people, and have learned awesome new crafts.
The conversations I’ve had with the people I love are nothing short of glorifying to God and His name. Everything is pointing back to Him and I’m so humbled to be where I am.
But people around me continue to struggle. Family members find themselves in the darkest place they’ve ever known, and yet they continue to fight.
Best friends experience loss after loss, and yet they continue to point to the goodness of the Lord.
People feel lonely, unsure of their futures, and utterly broken. But Jesus is our closest friend, our assurance that he holds every aspect of our future, and our Healer and Savior.
Do you see a theme? Because to me, it’s undeniably clear.
Our circumstances do nothing to hinder God’s power. Our pain does not diminish His goodness. He doesn’t worry or wonder or fear. When we struggle, that doesn’t mean we don’t continue to follow Jesus. When we lose people we love, that doesn’t mean that God is no longer good. When we are confused, we must continue to trust Him and His plans.
I was reading Matthew and I got to the part where Jesus fed that 5,000. You know the story, right? If not, I’ll paste the whole thing at the bottom of this blog. But basically, five thousand men (not including the women and children) were hungry and followed Jesus and he fed them using only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. If you grew up in the church, you know this story. It’s one of Jesus’s most well-known miracles.
But it’s extremely important to know the context of this story. That this happened DIRECTLY after Jesus found out John, his best friend and cousin, had been beheaded.
Of course this news saddened Jesus and He withdrew to mourn. When the crowds followed Him, the disciples told Him to send the crowd away in order to be alone.
But Jesus helped them.
He spoke to them and encouraged them and healed their sick and fed them.
Despite his extreme pain, despite the loss of his best friend and the knowledge that people hated those who spoke His name so much they were willing to behead them, despite His circumstances, He still helped the people. He still encouraged them and listened to them and performed miracles for them.
Pain doesn’t mean we don’t do what Jesus has called us to.
In fact it’s just a better opportunity to minister and make Jesus your only strength and the only one to be glorified.
In our darkest moments is when Jesus can shine the brightest.
Don’t let your circumstances stop you from pursuing what God has called you to. Don’t let your pain and struggles act as an excuse to ignore His plans for you. In the midst of the toughest moments, use Jesus as your only strength and continue forward.
After all, your Savior is the same man who fed thousands of people with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
Here is the story of the feeding of the 5,000. Remember that the “what had happened” is referring to the beheading of John.
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
“Bring them here to me,” he said. 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. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.