In the ninth chapter of the Luke we read about Jesus feeding the multitudes. Powerful truth and encouragement are revealed through a very short section of Scripture, beginning in verse 10 and ending in verse 17. For me, it demonstrates how God allows problems for our growth and benefit in the following ways:
The Problem: We see in Luke 9:13 that Jesus directs His disciples to solve the problem of not having enough food for everyone when He says, “You give them something to eat.” Clearly, He knew there was nothing they could do in their own power to solve the problem and yet, He directs them to do so. Thus, He used this difficulty to challenge their faith and spiritual growth – and He often does the same with us. He sees and knows the problems we face and that they are accompanied with the challenge to solve them. However, how many times does this challenge only serve to frustrate and overwhelm us more? This of course is not the response, God is looking for. Instead, we can learn from how the disciples handled the situation.
The Pursuit: In the same verse, we see the disciples immediately turn and pursue Christ for help rather than scramble to solve the problem solely by themselves. They present an idea, but the key is they are talking with Jesus about their problem. This is what we are commanded to do as well. For we are encouraged to cast all our anxieties on Him because He cares (1 Peter 5:7). As an example, we then see Jesus direct His disciples what to do next. As they obey, they position themselves to receive His blessing, and so can we. We must turn to Him as we face challenging circumstances, or any situation and seek His guidance. Then obey.
The Praise: As the disciples sat the people down in groups of fifty, as directed, we then see the next step to facing problems. We are to give praise and thanksgiving for God’s help before it is even received. Meaning, we believe He knows our problem and will help solve our problem as He chooses (1 John 5:14). For example, we see Jesus giving thanks for what He had, five loaves and two fish before they were miraculously multiplied in Luke 9:16. Likewise, when we face problems we can thank God for what we have been given and for the opportunity to trust Him with our problems and thank Him in faith for helping us solve them.
Application: “Surrender All” – Luke 9:23
It can be difficult to learn the valuable lesson of full surrender. For many may believe in Jesus as Savior, but are challenged when it comes to making Him Lord and Master. This is because it requires choosing to move beyond our wants. It involves denying self and surrendering our entire life fully to Him. This means He runs the show and we pursue His ways, rather than ours. However, for all who follow Christ as their King, Lord, Master and Savior soon discover, He is more than capable to handle the problems we face. In fact, He can use any situation, or challenge as powerful tools to bless not only us, but countless others in the process.