It’s amazing how God places people in your life. I’ve never met Mrs. Yas Huling, and I don’t know her family, but her husband contacted us last year about singing at their church. We follow each other on Instagram and have talked back and forth several times. Tonight was such a time, and she said something to me that I immediately had to go look up. And wow, did the Lord bless my heart with it. (And being the preacher’s daughter that I am, I made a quick outline, lol.)
We all know the story so well. The feeding of the five thousand. Jesus and His disciples departed into a desert place and they were met by throngs of people. Jesus had compassion on them, because He saw them as sheep without a shepherd and began to teach them.
Vs. 35-38 A Problem Was Presented
The day was far spent, they were in the desert, they were hungry and they had no food. The disciples wanted to send the crowd away because all they had was five loaves and two fishes. Not enough, Lord. Not nearly enough for this crowd. What a problem….silly disciples.
Vs. 39 A Plan Was Prepared
Yas told me about the green grass in the desert. I’d never seen that before, but sure enough it’s there. And not brown, dead, dried up grass. The bible specifically says green grass. So I looked up ‘desert’ in Strong’s Concordance just to make sure I was thinking that this is the hot, dry desert I have pictured in my mind. And this is what it said: “lonesome that is (by implication) waste – desert, desolate, solitary, wilderness”. That doesn’t sound like a place that would have green grass to me. But God had already prepared a spot for all those people to sit comfortably while they enjoyed probably the best meal they’d ever eaten. How many days or weeks or even months did it have to rain for there to be alive, lush, green grass? And not just a little grass. Enough for thousands and thousands of people. Can you imagine what it would have been like to sit on the hot burning sand and enjoy a meal? It wouldn’t have been very enjoyable. In fact, the magnitude of the miracle might have been lost if God had not prepared the blessing of the green grass. But He knew where they’d end up. He had a plan.
Vs. 41 A Phenomenon Was Performed
Time for the miracle. Jesus blessed the bread, broke it, and had the disciples hand it out. Those doubting men, handing out the impossibly multiplied food.
Vs. 42-43 A Purpose Was Perfected
Each person that was there, ate until they were stuffed. I wonder if they got sleepy afterward? Bellies full, nice comfy seat….And 12 whole basketfuls of leftovers. If you read this story in all the gospels, you’ll see that Jesus cared that nothing was lost or wasted. He made sure that the remains were carried away. I wonder how many times, after Jesus had went back to Heaven, this scene came back to the disciples’ minds? In their darkest moments of doubt or despair, did this help them trust that God still had a purpose? I’m sure it most definitely did.
I don’t like the desert places. They present a problem. They are hot and dry and lonely and desolate. But God, in His infinite wisdom, has already prepared a plan for me to walk through the desert. He’s made a little patch of grass where I can rest my weary feet and enjoy the blessings that He multiplies in my life. Sometimes, when I think it’s over, when I think there will never be enough, He breaks me and performs a phenomenal miracle. And I can rest in the promise of 1 Peter 5:10 –
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
His purpose perfected.
Two little words that are easily read over and missed. But oh, what is contained in them! Green grass. In a desert place.
Who would’ve thought?
This song by Lois Gail immediately came to my mind. We had it on cassette growing up and listened to it all the time. I haven’t sang it probably in over 20 years. (Forgive me if some of the words are incorrect.)
“In the midst of a desert place, I saw the Master’s face
And when I’d nearly fainted, I felt Him strengthen my soul
It was there in that desert place, when I met Him face to face
That’s where I learned to trust Him and let Him take control.”
The desert can be a desperate place. But it’s through it, that I have seen my Master’s face most clearly. Lonely? Yes. But His presence fills the void. Hot? Yes. But He gives me cool, refreshing drinks from His reservoir. Desolate? Sometimes. But He turns the bleakness into blessings. Long? Yes. But It’s where I learn to trust Him.