Last night I had the most amazing and enjoyable dream Iâ€™ve had in years. Iâ€™m not allowed to share it with you for a number of reasons. One is that Iâ€™m still trying to remember the details of it. I pray God will give me great remembrance of it. Secondly, I believe God gave this dream to me as a possible future work of fiction. He knows that has always been a great desire of mine (see Psalm 37:4); to create a work of Christian fiction. However what is clear is that He wanted me to share about His great protection, providence, and provision.
A dear friend of mine is going through a very rough time right now; emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I talked with him for about 30 minutes yesterday afternoon trying to bring him encouragement and hope. What my dream reminded me is that in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation, Christ shows up a performs a miracle in our lives. I remembered the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand:
â€œWhen Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He wasâ€™ moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, â€˜This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.â€™ But Jesus said to them, They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.â€™ And they said to Him, â€˜We have here only five loaves and two fish.â€™ He said, â€˜Bring them here to Me.â€™ Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.â€ (Matthew 14:13-21)
The disciples were being very pragmatic so before we give them a bad time about their lack of faith, let us remind ourselves of what is our normal and usual reaction to seemingly hopeless and overwhelming circumstances. â€œWell, Iâ€™d like to help but one can clearly see that it is beyond my means.â€
Yes it is. Thatâ€™s where Jesus comes in. Our old friend Matthew Henry explains:
â€œThe presence of Christ and His gospel, makes a desert not only tolerable, but desirable. This little supply of bread was increased by Christâ€™s creating power; till the whole multitude were satisfied. In seeking the welfare of menâ€™s souls, we should have compassion on their bodies likewise. Let us also remember to crave a blessing on our meals, and learn to avoid all waste, as frugality is the proper source of liberality. See in this miracle an emblem of the Bread of life, which came down from heaven to sustain our perishing souls. The provisions of Christâ€™s gospel appear mean and scanty to the world, yet they satisfy all that feed on Him in their hearts by faith with thanksgiving.â€
I have learned great lessons in times of anguish and need and when talking with my friend yesterday, it seemed hollow to tell him to keep his eyes on God. However, I reminded him and myself that when we are going through the refining fires of life, it is easy to notice the flames and the heat, and discount the work being done within you. It is even easier to think during such times that our Lord does not care:
â€œOn the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, â€˜Let us cross over to the other side.â€™ Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, â€˜Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?â€™ Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, â€˜Peace, be still!â€™ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, â€˜Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?â€™â€ (Mark 4:35-40)
Those are two very good questions from our Lord. Why am I so fearful when the storms come and how is it that I have no faith? The answer to the second question would answer the first question. In all the storms Christ has brought me through, why do I fear the one that I am in? It is because I fear for my safety and my security; it is a natural fear that needs to be overcome by supernatural power. Sometimes it is enough just to remember that Jesus saved me:
â€œGracious is the Lord, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.â€ (Psalm 116:5-7)
Salvation alone is all one would ever need in this life. Should I waste away in the midst of poverty, destitute and dying from malnourishment, I could indeed have all I need in Christ because this life is temporal and I will be forever in bounty with my Lord in heaven. However, we must remember the wise words of Pastor Henry. While we seek the welfare on menâ€™s souls, to see them to salvation through the gospel of Jesus Christ, let us have compassion on their physical needs also. We are creatures of body, soul, and spirit, and let us acknowledge those needs of those around us.
The world will know we belong to Jesus if we have love for one another.
I pray you have a blessed weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
If youâ€™re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please email me at email@example.com and use â€œPlease add to Devotional Listâ€ as the subject.
Copyright Â© 2013 David Jeffers