Where to Stand in Unpredictable Times
This is a devotional meant for young adults seeking to become more like Jesus.
Where to Stand in Unpredictable Times
After talking to numerous friends and loved ones, I find a common thread in the conversations: We are not afraid of a certain virus, we are anxious over uncertain days.
How can we know what tomorrow brings? With the ever-changing realities brought by new technology, economy, trends, and culture, it is hard enough to keep up. How can any of us manage to look forward?
It’s time like these, when we face something as serious as a pandemic or as laughable as a toilet paper shortage, that we should shift our attention from the week-long forecast to the One who provides for eternity. We look up first and then out. It reminds me of when Jesus asked his followers to trust him above everything else in John 6.
After Jesus miraculously feeds the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish, he goes on to explain that people need more than just earthly food to feed their body today. They need spiritual food that nourishes forever.
The crowd asks Jesus to prove himself, to show a sign like Moses who had bread fall from the sky. Jesus responds and says to trust in God because He has already given them true bread that “gives life to the world.”
I believe at this point the crowds are thinking about the loaves they just ate. They are amiable toward Jesus, with their full bellies, because it sounds like he is about to give them more of the self-multiplying bread. “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread” (v.34).
I can’t help but find myself laughing at this description and identifying with the crowd. If you told me I never had to cook again because of some magical bread, I’d become your best friend too! Maybe you see yourself in this story. It may not be with food, but with an abundance of finances, or unwavering health, or a smooth career. Who doesn’t want more and more of a good thing? Here is what the crowd (and we) overlook. What Jesus is really saying is this: “Trust in me because everything else will eventually fall short or fail. I will cover and sustain your needs.” He proved himself to the crowd when he provided food. He’s proven himself to us with his resurrection. While our circumstances change, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus calls us to trust in the Giver, not the gifts. To have faith in the Planner, not the plans.
Then Jesus declared
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (v.35)
We all have plans. Plans to graduate, or go to work. Plans for an incoming paycheck, or a trip to Europe. Plans to purchase a new car, or sell a home. And it can feel near impossible to have any peace when our plans are disrupted. When we feel blindsided, it is tempting to distrust God and abandon Him altogether. This is what the crowd did. Even after witnessing a miracle where five loaves fed 5,000 people, they reject him.
The crowds hear Jesus’ teaching to “eat his flesh” and “drink his blood” for eternal life. They refused to accept his difficult words and deserted him, all except the Twelve. Jesus asks if his remaining disciples would leave too. In verse 68, Simon Peter responds: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
The Twelve trusted Jesus. Even though they didn’t always understand what Jesus was doing in the moment, they believed he was exactly who he claimed to be.
This truth is what you and I can cling to even when times are unpredictable. So, take this encouragement looking forward: while you may not have a crystal ball to tell the future, we do have access to the bread of life, Jesus. He will never fail nor forsake you. He will provide for your needs every day and forevermore.