Every once in a while someone will ask me, “Why do I keep facing the same problem over and over?” We know that the problems we face are trials or tests. When we get the same test again and again, it’s a signal for us to take a spiritual inventory.
The disciples of Christ had a similar experience. A remote place, no resources, and a hungry crowd of people.
During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”
His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied.
History repeats itself. This is the same scenario that we saw in Mark chapter 6, verses 35-44. Jesus had been teaching the crowd. It was getting late. They were all hungry.
There is one noticeable difference. In chapter 6, the disciples had to search the crowd to know how much bread they had. At this time they came to Jesus already knowing the answer.
My first thought is to rebuke the disciples for not learning the lesson when Jesus fed the five thousand. But then my next thought is, how long it takes me to learn the lessons God is trying to get across to me. It seems like, at least in my case, I don’t learn them the first time around.
Jesus had to show them, once again, the supernatural provision of God.
He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand men were present. And having sent them away, he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.
The trials that we face are testing us. They come along to see if we’ve learned the lessons God is showing us. He’s teaching us to trust Him. When we manifest that faith, we pass the test.
James explains the procedure to us.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
That means if we face the same test over and over, then we’re not learning the lesson correctly. It’s time to pray for wisdom to see what we’re missing.
Our goal should be to know the Lord more intimately. The more we know Him and His desires for us, the better prepared we’ll be for the upcoming tests. Instead of being frustrated by the repeated testing, let it drive you into the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Let our great Teacher mentor you for the challenges ahead.
Question: What was a lesson that took you a few times to get right?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi