Luke 9:12-14a – Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to [Jesus] and said, "Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here." He replied, "You give them something to eat." They answered, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish — unless we go and buy food for all this crowd." (About five thousand men were there.) (NIV)
One memory of my teenage years is the spring my dad shipped in a thousand sheep by rail from Texas. With our hired help on horseback, we herded them off the train, down the main street of our small town, and out the west road to our bluegrass farm. I was posted on my horse at the entrance of the lane to make certain they turned in. What a sight! As they came down the road eight abreast, I marvelled how much it was like a scene out of a western movie.
By early fall, my awe changed into a nightmare. Winter decided to arrive early in Indiana. The first hard freeze moved in overnight. Early morning found me helping the others cut the sheep's wool loose from the ground so that they could be free to feed at the feeding stations.
We needed a miracle. By mid-morning, we had freed only two hundred sheep. Like the tired and doubting disciples, we felt that the thousand sheep to feed might as well have been five thousand, with the feat ahead of us. Also like the disciples, we realized the inadequacy of our own resources. We needed our faith and trust in God reaffirmed — that somehow He would help us through this unusual happening.
By 10:00 a.m., the sun came out, and it being early fall, the sun shone down with melting results, and the remaining sheep — close to eight hundred — were able to get up by their own volition. Like Christ feeding the five thousand, the sheep were satisfied at the troughs.
When we are challenged in an oppressive situation, we need to remember that God will see us through. We must not be overwhelmed with the vastness of the problem and give up, because His promises are true. Let us remember that God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)
Prayer: Lord, we do thank You for the times when we can trust You to come through, even when we are discouraged and lacking in faith to the point that we let our inadequacies almost blind us to Your possibilities of help. Amen.
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