Friday, August 1, 2014

first friday finds :: august 2014

{It's #firstfridayfinds time again and here's this month's unedited, 15 minutes worth of truth.  
Please share yours at the bottom too!  The link will be up all week.  Here's how.}
The first friday of the month is almost over and I am barreling down the racetrack, screaming in here on two wheels.  Fifteen minutes at 10pm is truly all I have today, but I have definitely uncovered some nuggets of truth in the passage I just read...{beeeeep...beeeeep...beeeeep} that's me backing up the truck...and here comes the dump...

Ever heard that crazy story about Jesus feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish

On this side of the story we can marvel and stand in amazement at how Jesus performed such an incredible miracle...or we can balk at the absurdity and refuse to believe it's true.  I choose the former because...well...call me crazy...but I believe the Bible in it's entirety is true.  Explaining why might take me more than fifteen minutes so we'll save it for another post.

So, believing the Bible is true, it's easy for me to accept this event which was recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  And it is, most certainly, miraculous.  But what I focused on tonight was something that happened on the other side of the feeding of the 5000.  The side where the disciples were hanging out with Jesus and found themselves face-to-face with a multitude of hungry people.  Pre-miracle is a very different perspective than post-miracle.

Jesus asks Philip {one of his disciples} 'Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?', which as it turns out was not a question Jesus actually needed the answer to...he already had the answer.  The scriptures tell us that 'He said this to test him, for he himself {Jesus} knew what he {Jesus} would do.'

Have you ever wondered if God tests you?  I think he does...but maybe not in the way you think.
He doesn't test you like a mean Catholic nun teacher tests you with a stick in hand ready to strike if you get the answer wrong.
He doesn't test you like a bitter jealous girlfriend who tries to set you up with a question like - 'tell me the truth or I will break up with you...did you look at that girl when she walked by!?!'
He doesn't test you with a 'pass' or 'fail' on the line.  
He tests you like we 'test' the water before we jump in 
or 'test' a line before we cast it into the lake.  
God 'tests' to get a better idea of the conditions...not of the water or of the line...but of our hearts.  And the results of those tests are really meant for us...to let us know how much or little we are seeing the world around us from His perspective.

I think God's test for you may look something like it might have looked for Philip.  
He invites us into a problem or a situation that seems impossible.  He perhaps asks us a question to which we would likely respond, 'I can't.  That's impossible.'
Where do we buy the bread for 5000 people out here in the middle of nowhere with no money? 
Umm...we don't, Jesus.  That's impossible.

And we respond either like Philip {stating the impossibility of the situation} - 
Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.

Or like Andrew {perhaps still skeptical but at least giving Jesus something to work with} -
There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?

And then Jesus...oh how I love him.  He doesn't pull out a red marker and draw a big 'F' on anybody's face.  He doesn't dish out reprimands or shake his head in disgust over the lack of faith.

No...Jesus just does it...what He knew he was going to do all along.  
He makes the impossible possible.  
And not only that...he let the disciples facilitate it!  Under his direction they were actually the ones to do the feeding...to offer the miracle to the multitude.  It wasn't the first or last time we see it happen in the Bible.  Read for yourself and you'll find that making the impossible possible was kinda Jesus' M.O.  And time and time again he invited ordinary people like me and you to be a part of it.  Still does it today...I promise.
What part of your life right now are you shaking your head and saying...
Umm...Jesus, that's impossible.  I can't.

Spend some time thinking about it because I'd be willing to bet that is the very place that he already has a plan to show you that He can.

And, by the way, don't beat yourself up if you feel like your faith and your perspective is too limited to see how God could possibly do 'that thing'.  You are pre-miracle right now...if you follow his direction, things will look completely different on the other side.