Every week I meet with several friends for Bible study. Last week I noticed a typo in my study sheet and laughed when the scripture reference landed us nowhere near where I thought it would.
“Okay, ladies. I messed up. Let’s see where this takes us.”
I flipped to the scripture and just for fun I read the verse out loud. Then I saw the words I had written under the verse.
BOLD BLACK LETTERS asking this question:
How in the world did they forget so quickly?
Suddenly tears came. My friends had no idea what was going on, or why my typo led to laughter and tears in a matter of seconds.
Here’s the verse:
Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”
The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”
Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”
So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food.
I wrote the phrase a couple of years ago when I was studying, astounded that the disciples had such major amnesia. You see, they had experienced a pretty major miracle just a few short days earlier. Jesus had fed a massive crowd of 5,000 plus their relatives, and he had very little to work with. In the end, they had baskets left over. But here stood the disciples, shuffling from foot to foot, looking around at the crowd and saying, “Oh word, how are we going to deal with this, Jesus? There’s no food!”
This new problem was the exact same problem as before.
It was the exact same magnitude.
It was the exact same Messiah.
It was the exact same response.
As I read my own words in BOLD BLACK INK, tears came because my husband was diagnosed with cancer not too long ago. It was fresh. It felt big. Way bigger than me. Sure, my faith was there because God is there, but there was a lot of me mixed in, too. My worries about our future. The financial aspects. My guy, who I love like crazy. My children, and my children’s children.
We were in the midst of processing the news and had told only our children and closest friends. As I read my own words, I realized that it was no accident that I had landed on that page, because it allowed me to ask myself this same question:
How in the world had I forgotten so quickly?
Twenty-three years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 2B metastatic breast cancer. I was a young mama, a young wife. It was a hard time, but also a miraculous time. It wasn’t what we wanted to walk through as a couple. In a million years it wasn’t our choice. And yet we experienced miracle after miracle — most of them behind closed doors as Richard and I prayed and held each other, but at other times in the hardest moments when I felt bare and exposed and afraid.
It is the exact same situation, except now it’s him instead of me.
It is the exact magnitude. The treatment is as intimidating as the disease.
It is the exact same Savior. He walked with us then. He’ll walk with us now.
It is the exact same response. . . .
and this might be where you disagree.
Suzie, you have no idea how this will all turn out.
You’re right, I don’t. But this is also what I learned in that hard time. Miracles can be an act of healing, but there are other miracles that take place. When I look back at my first miracle, I will always be grateful for my extra years. But it was the overwhelming presence and intimacy of walking closely with Him that stands out as our greatest miracle.
- He took our almost nothing and multiplied it over and over again.
- He took our fears and taught us to trust.
- He turned us toward each other when the emotional intensity wanted to divide.
- He whispered words in our hearts when we were torn and didn’t know what to do.
And perhaps the greatest miracle? It was the depth of trust that settled into my heart, knowing that eternity is real and whether I was healed physically or not, I was a winner either way.
How did I forget so quickly?
It’s because I’m human, just like the guys in this story asking, “Hey, how are we going to do this, Jesus?”
His answer then was this: Together. We’re going to do this together. Give me your almost nothing and let me do the impossible with it.
It’s still our answer today. I don’t know what you are going through, but if you are in a hard place like we are, take a moment to remember the miracles of the past. Speak them out loud if you need.
Remind yourself of who He was then. . . and who He still is today.
Then give him your almost nothing and watch Him do the impossible.
Living and loving our faith without limits has nothing to do with our own efforts–and it has everything to do with God’s Holy Spirit.