Reading: Matthew 14:13-21
Many, many years ago I read C.S. Lewis’ “A Grief Observed”. I do not have the book with me anymore, but if I remember everything correctly, it contained 4 entries from the great author’s journal—written just after his beloved wife’s death. I thought I very much related with the anger and despair, but unlike C.S. Lewis, I was not as quick as him in resolving the matter (the 4th entry). Instead, I reflected so much on his question whether God is a sadist, withholding from us the things we want and giving them to us only when we no longer desire them.
Now here comes a large crowd—five thousand men, besides women and children—seeking the Lord, seeking healing and the wonderful words that come from his mouth. When they caught up with him, he had compassion on them and healed their sick (v.14). At the end of the day his disciples thought his task was finished—“Send the crowds away”, but Jesus said “… Give them something to eat” (vv.15-16).
I am often tempted to think that the good things could not last—that at some point I will be tried and tested again—robbing me of the joy of the present. But we see here that Jesus did not stop at healing, but gave provisions as well—so much that there were twelve basketfuls of leftover (v.20); more than enough so that we are strengthened for this life’s journey. These truths should put me at peace. His rod and his staff—they comfort me (Ps.23:4). He is with me, always, to the very end of the age (Matt.28:20).
Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
– Isaiah 46:3-4 (NIV)