“When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” ~John 6:5-6
Jesus performed many, many miracles during His short ministry on earth. This particular miracle is pretty well known. In fact, it is the only miracle that is recorded in all four gospels. Jesus feeds five thousand people with only five small barley loaves and two small fish. I love this story, but did you ever notice verse 6 of the scripture? Jesus already knew what He was going to do. He knew. That one verse fills me with so much joy and hope! Many of us are facing difficult circumstances or situations, and we wonder how it’s going to work out. Well, just as Jesus knew how He would feed the crowd, God already knows how He’s going to resolve our problems. The question is, do we see it this way? Are we more focused on the mountain or the One who moves mountains?
Five-thousand people? That’s a pretty large crowd to feed. But that didn’t matter to Jesus. He already knew what He was going to do to feed them. He also certainly knew how Philip was going to respond to His question. So, why did Jesus ask the question? I believe it was to renew Philip’s mind, just as this scripture renews our minds. You see, Philip viewed the problem from the world’s perspective. Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” (John 6:7) If Philip would have first considered Jesus’ power and authority, he would have answered differently, don’t you think? When you read the story, you’ll find that another of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, was also pretty doubtful when he considered the size of the crowd. Have you ever been guilty of looking at your problems like the disciples looked at that crowd? It’s too big. It’s impossible. It’ll never work. Sometimes big problems evoke doubt-filled responses. That’s because our response is based on what we see. Many times, what we see “appears” so much bigger than we are because we’re not viewing our problems through the eyes of faith. Rather, we are gauging the issue based on how we see it. However, scripture encourages us not to rely on what we see, but to rest our hearts in what we don’t see. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Have you considered the size of the mountain before considering the One who moves mountains? I have. I would see a giant of a problem standing before me, and fear or doubt would quickly settle in my mind. I was doubtful, but God always knew what He was going to do, and He always made a way. We may not have a clue how a problem will be resolved, but God, who knows our end from our beginning, already knows what He’s going to do about it. And God challenges us to think about how we perceive problems so we can learn to view and confront problems from His perspective. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) Whether we’re facing giant or general problems, do we really believe that nothing is impossible for God? Are we seeing it through the eyes of faith or from the world’s perspective? Our perception of a problem will depend on which lens we are looking through. God desires that we see our issues through the lens of faith. He wants us to believe (with all our heart, mind and soul) that He already has the answer. He knows all about our problems, and He already knows what He’s going to do about them! “For I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
Prayer: Father, I praise your holy name. Thank you for your unending grace and mercy. When problems arise in my life, help me to pause and pray so that I may see them from your perspective and not my own. Whenever doubt creeps in, remind me that you know about my problems and you already know what you are going to do about them! Help me to remember, no matter how big problems appear to me, they are but dust under your feet. Nothing is impossible for you! In Jesus’ beautiful name I pray. Amen