Devotions

A devotion — Feeling overwhelmed?

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Light for the Way devotional series

By Campus Pastor Tom Parker, Timber Hills

Do you look at our world today and literally stand there shaking your head in bewilderment as to how this world has gotten into such a mess? Do you look at your situation and wonder how will I survive? Or how can I make sense of this chaos around us? Is there any assurance that we will be taken care of in our daily needs? As I was praying about this, this morning I remembered the story found in all four Gospels about the feeding of the 5,000. Listen to the account from the Book of Luke:

When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.” And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them. —Luke 9:12-17, NKJV

Like I said, this is one of the stories found in all four Gospels, as we seek to understand the significance of the lesson behind the event. Jesus has just spent time with His disciples who have returned from the ministry Jesus had sent them to experience. Jesus took the disciples privately into a deserted place to listen to the stories. The disciples, I am sure, were excitedly anxious to tell Jesus all about their travels and ministry.

But as always, the crowds find Jesus and want to listen to Him speak. We then see a huge amount of people gathered to hear Jesus, and as always Jesus healed those in need and had compassion on them. Many in that day also worried about how they would survive during the struggles of that era. Just like in the ancient times, we ask the very same questions of survival.

Back to our story, as the day comes to an end, the disciples tell Jesus to send the crowds away so they may go into the surrounding areas to seek food. They have been with Jesus all day and were surely hungry. Jesus uses this time to again give His disciples and the people a great lesson about the awesomeness and the divine nature of Jesus Himself.

Jesus tells the disciples (actually Philip) to provide food for all the people. Philip says, “Lord, even with two hundred denarii we could never feed these many people.” Philip looked upon the situation as a physical issue with no answer at all, almost like how we feel in our world.

Jesus was about to show them the physical and a spiritual answer to the situation. Jesus inquires about the food they had on hand, and as we know they had two fish and five loaves of bread. (Remember here that the 5,000 were men only, so the actual number was much higher.)

Jesus looks to God His Father, blesses the food and then starts to divide the food for the disciples to bring and serve the people. We are told that everyone was filled and satisfied. When this awesome miracle was complete, there were 12 baskets of food left over.

In this miracle we see a few things: first, Jesus is there to guide us through this thing called life, as we see in so many seemingly insurmountable problems that Jesus is the answer to every possible situation. Second, Jesus showed the people and His disciples His divine nature, that He was God. Third, even when life seems too overwhelming and the struggle seems to be greater than you can handle, Jesus promises us to never leave us nor forsake us.

This is where we realize that in our lives today, Jesus is all we need!!! No matter how frustrated we get or how dismal our world seems, there is but one source and one source only to give us the peace and comfort each day to survive.

Jesus says in John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” No matter how bad the world becomes, we have the promise of God that He is still in control.

Campus Pastor Tom ParkerRev. Tom Parker has served PHS as a Campus Pastor at Timber Hills and Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington since 2013. He is a Baptist General Conference ordained minister and has served as a senior pastor in the church for several years and also worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. God has blessed him with three daughters, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.

Find more in the Light for the Way series:

Love one another
Get to know us: a Christian ministry
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series

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