To See Beyond the Obvious

Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” (John 6: 5-7 ESV).

We welcomed 2021as a year of hope and promise. We saw the vaccines against Covid 19 rolled out; a new government leadership; an economic relief stimulus package in the offing. 

But subsequent events quickly dampened these hopes: a more infectious Covid variant; logistical snags in vaccine distribution; a violent mob overwhelming security forces and assaulting the US Capitol.  The magnitude and implications of these events are so overwhelming that we feel helpless.

Seeing the multitudes that were following them the disciple Philip replied to Jesus’ question about feeding the people: “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.”  Andrew concurred with Philip; he told Jesus that the only food available were two fish and five loaves of bread that a boy had offered. 

The two disciples were realists.  Feeding thousands with only two fish and five loaves of bread was an impossible task.  But the disciples forgot one thing  — Jesus was with them.

There are times when we feel so overwhelmed by life’s challenges that we are ready to give up.  And like the disciples, we forget that Jesus is with us.

Taking the bread and the fish, Jesus gave thanks and told the disciples to feed the crowd.  The leftover food filled 12 baskets (John 6:1-15).  In the hands of Jesus the inadequate food not only fed thousands but generated a surplus.

The same hands were nailed on the cross. Jesus loved us so much He gave His life for our sake; but He overcame death to defeat sin, Satan and hell once and for all.  Before Jesus ended His earthly ministry He assured His disciples He would be with them till the end of time.

God sees and knows what is going on — not just the highly contagious Covid variant or the attack on the Capitol; but also the aunt with cancer, and the overdue rental payment. God knows and God cares and God will work in God’s way and in God’s time.

We are not asked to solve the problems of the country much less the world. But we are asked to earnestly pray for our leaders, do acts of love and kindness to the person(s) next to us, support those who work for peace and justice, and verbalize that the reason for our actions is our hope in Christ.

Our Father, help us to see with the eyes of faith that You know what is going on in the world and that You care.  We believe; help our unbelief!  Amen.

Emmanuel N. ILAGAN

Photo by Tiago Leonardi on Unsplash

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