Welcome to Songs of Salvation! Each Sunday I will feature a Christian author sharing a "Song of Salvation" to uplift and encourage believers and glorify God.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. Revelation 12:11 NLT
Authors, find out how to share your Song of Salvation here.
Recently my husband, Paul, shared a communion message for our church. He shared with us a Bible study he’d done in the Gospel of Mark. I won’t go into all the incredible detail that he did, but it was a truly eye-opening message for me. It’s changed the way I pray.
First, we see Jesus miraculously feeding the five thousand in Mark 6. After a long day of travel and listening to Jesus teach, the people are tired and hungry. Those closest to Jesus, his twelve disciples, suggest he dismiss the people to go home. But Jesus feels compassion for the people, and he tells the disciples to feed them. Their minds boggle at this idea. They can’t afford to feed five thousand people! (Well over five thousand when you add in women and children.) Even if they had the money to buy that amount of food, where would they get it?
So Jesus takes what they have, five loaves and two fish, and he blesses it. Then he uses what they have to feed the people. Everyone eats and has their fill. There’s even a ton of leftovers. A miracle.
When the day is finally done, Jesus sends the twelve ahead to cross the lake without him. He retreats to pray. A wind kicks up while the disciples are in the boat, and they’re struggling at the oars. From the hillside, Jesus sees them struggling and comes to them, walking on the water. Another miracle.
They see him as he’s about to pass by, and they’re afraid because they think he’s a ghost. He tells them not to be afraid. Jesus climbs into the boat and the wind dies down. The disciples are completely amazed, because “they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” (Mark 6:52, NIV)
Then in the beginning of Mark 8, Jesus miraculously feeds four thousand. Again he has little to work with, but he uses what little they have on hand to feed all the people, and there are a ton of leftovers, like before.
Next, there’s this interaction with the Pharisees when they ask Jesus for a sign. (He’s miraculously fed over nine thousand people by now—what other sign do we need?) Afterwards, Jesus turns to his twelve and warns them to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees.
The disciples talk amongst themselves and wonder if he’s upset because they haven’t brought any bread. They’re literal, not unlike us, looking at the world with our human eyes. They think yeast, bread. They miss the bigger picture. (Jesus can provide more than enough.)
So many times we read these scriptures in chunks, without the impact of reading them all together like this. Even the disciples had an issue with focusing on the most immediate need and forgetting to look at the bigger picture. (I can hardly point a finger at them.)
At this point, Jesus says this:
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?” (Mark 8:17-21)
My husband looked out at all of us in the congregation and said the most important question for us, is do we understand? He said much more than that, but I’ll share what I took away personally:
Jesus can take whatever I have and make it enough. He can make it more than enough. (As he did feeding the five thousand.) He can walk on water and calm the winds in my life.
When the disciples were out there on the lake, they were struggling at the oars. They had the wind against them. And Jesus saw them. He was watching. He went out to them, but he didn’t calm the wind right away. He was about to pass by the boat. It was as if he was making himself available to them. But he waited until they cried out to him, then he got into the boat. (They weren’t even perfect in this—they were afraid and didn’t recognize him at first. I can’t help but think he was hoping they’d realize it was him right away and ask for him to help them. We see a measure of his grace here.)
Jesus is there for me with every struggle I have. He’s there. He is able. (For everyone.)
And that has changed the way I pray.
When I feel the struggle—when life is overwhelming me—I remember this message. God sees me. He’s watching out for me. He is more than able to help. He wants to help me. He’s there for me, waiting for me to call out to him. So many times now, my prayers start with, “Dear God, I’m struggling at the oars.” I tell him what the problem of the hour (day/month/year/life) is. I share openly with him about all my feelings. And I invite him into the boat with me. I ask him to take what I have and please make it enough.
This has helped me in my faith so much. I hope it helps you too. Thanks for having me here today to share.