Jesus had a pattern of performing miraculous acts in the midst of messes. Let's not miss His miraculous work in the midst of OUR messes!
Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” Mark 6:51-52 (NIV)
I ran my hand over the large rock and closed my eyes. What an incredible moment it was for me to stand where Jesus once stood in the Holy Land. I opened my Bible and let the full reality of all He was facing fall fresh on me.
I wanted to read the Scriptures leading up to this moment where He sat on Mt. Arbel and prayed and watched the disciples, just before walking on water.
But I cautioned myself to read the uncommon sentences. Too many times I highlight verses telling of Jesus’ miracles but skim right past those telling of deeply human realities.
In Mark chapter 5, we see Jesus interacting with a woman desperate to be healed from her bleeding disorder. He frees her from her suffering and gives her peace. And we find Him healing the young daughter of a synagogue ruler.
But we also find in verse 40a, “But they laughed at him.”
In Mark chapter 6 we see Jesus sending out the 12 disciples and as they preached, “They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them,” (v. 13.)
But we also find earlier in verse 3b, “… And they took offense at him.”
We find Him having great compassion on the people who followed Him in the feeding of the 5,000. They all ate and were satisfied by five loaves and two fish.
But we also see that Jesus and His disciples were physically depleted, “because so many were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat,” (v. 31a).
Messy realities tucked in the midst of miracles.
And isn’t it so like us to miss this about Jesus’ everyday life? We hyper-focus on the lines of Scripture containing the miracles so much that we miss the detail of the mess.
Jesus had people laugh at Him and reject Him and misunderstand Him. We know this in theory, but as I sat on that rock that day I suddenly realized what an everyday reality this was for Him.
Now, here’s what happens to me in my life: I get so focused on the mess, I miss the miracles.
And that’s the very thing that happens to the disciples right after the feeding of the 5,000. They got in a boat and strong winds caused the water to get very rough. The disciples were straining at the oars as the realities of life beat against them.
Jesus was on the mountainside praying. From Mt. Arbel, Jesus could see the middle of the lake where the disciples were. Mark 6:47-48a, “Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them” (NIV).
Jesus saw them. He went down to them. And they missed the miracle in the midst of the mess.
The same miracle worker that multiplied the fish and the loaves was now walking on the water near them and they thought He was a ghost. They were terrified and then were amazed, but they didn’t understand, for the Scriptures say, “their hearts were hardened,” (v. 52b).
It seems to me Jesus has a pattern of performing miraculous acts in the setting of messes.
This revelation led me to a gut-honest prayer, Oh Lord, let me see this. Please don’t let the messes of life harden my heart and blind me to Your presence. Instead of being so terrified in the midst of the mess, might I keep the picture of You, watching me, always watching me. And might I find courage in the assurance that You will come to me with Your miraculous presence.
Yes, I need to spend a whole lot less time trying to fix the messes in my life … and a whole lot more time keeping my heart soft in the process.
Then I won’t miss the miraculous work of Jesus in the midst of my mess.
Dear Lord, You are so good. Help me see Your hand working even in the midst of things that seem to be messes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)
John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are you in the middle of a difficult or frustrating season in your life right now? Ask God to open your eyes to see His miracles in the midst of your mess.