“Lord, I don’t think I can make it through this day.” It had been a tremendously full past few days. Late nights, early mornings, and constant demands had left me exhausted. As my alarm sounded the start of a new day I really just wanted to go back to sleep.
I wonder if this is something you can relate to? Whether it is the pressure of work, school, motherhood, ministry, or a combination of multiple pressures, we have all been in those seasons of exhaustion.
I was struck by a story in Mark recently.
The apostles gathered together with Jesus, and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught. And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many [people] coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves. [The people] saw them going, and many recognized [them] and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things. When it was already quite late, His disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and it is already quite late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But He answered them, “You give them [something] to eat!” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them [something] to eat?” And He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!” And when they found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” And He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass. They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed [the food] and broke the loaves and He kept giving [them] to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish. There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.
This passage is preceded by Jesus sending out His twelve followers to preach repentance, cast out demons, and heal the sick. After a season of doing this (the Bible doesn’t tell us how long it was) they returned and reported everything they had done to Jesus. He says to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” I imagine they were anticipating rest with excitement after not even having time to eat.
The multitudes, who saw them leaving, ran on foot to arrive before Jesus and His disciples. What is the natural response? Perhaps I would have told them “Sorry, I can’t see anyone right now. I’ve had a very busy week and this is my day off. Come back tomorrow.” This is not what Jesus does! He is moved by compassion for the multitudes and begins to teach them.
The teaching continues until late in the day, causing the weary disciples to make an appeal. “Jesus, this is a desolate place and it is already quite late. Send them away so they can buy themselves something to eat.”
I can guess what they are thinking “Okay, Jesus. We get it. You are here to serve the people, but you have already given enough. You have spent all day teaching. Send them away so we can get some rest.”
Jesus responds “You give them something to eat!” To them, this seems impossible. It seems extreme. Surely Jesus doesn’t expect this! We are here in this desolate place to rest!
When Jesus asks how much food they have, I can imagine their thoughts, “We only brought food for ourselves. There is no way we can feed all these people. Besides, if we give away our food what will we eat?”
But they comply, “Five loaves and two fish.”
Jesus commands the people to sit down. He looks up to heaven, blesses the food, and then begins passing it out. It doesn’t end! He keeps giving and giving to the disciples. Out of five loaves and two fish, every person ate and was satisfied. Not only that, twelve full baskets were collected of the remaining fragments as well!
Out of weakness, 5000 were fed.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
This miracle that can seem so far from daily life is a beautiful picture of God’s strength made perfect in our weakness.
The disciples sought to protect what little energy and food they had. This is because they were looking to their own strength to carry out the ministry Christ had given them. I have felt this, “If I keep going like I am I will be so exhausted I will not be able to get everything done.”
This isn’t Biblical! God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. As the disciples finally relinquished their little to the Lord Jesus He was able to multiply it. The humble loaves and fishes fed a multitude. Not only were the needs of the multitudes met there was an abundance left!
This becomes practical when we see that just as the disciples we must surrender what little we have to the Lord. Whether this season finds you exhausted or abounding in energy, all that you have must be given into His trustworthy hands.
If your energy is depleted it is His strength will be made perfect in your weakness. He will give you everything you need to accomplish everything He has given you to do. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
If finances are lacking He will provide everything you need according to His riches in glory. (Philippians 4:19)
If you find your love for others lacking it is the Lord who pours out His love into our hearts. (Romans 5:5)
If you find your joy lacking only in Jesus will you find joy unspeakable and full of glory. (1 Peter 1:3-9)
“Lord, I don’t think I can make it through this day, but I know that your strength is made perfect in my weakness. I am trusting that you will give me everything I need to accomplish everything you have given me to do.”
And He did.
The young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be completely spent for my King. I don’t want to hold back anything. May my life be like humble loaves and fishes offered up to Jesus, broken, and spent for His glory for He is worthy.