Remember the setting here … Jesus is talking not just to the twelve disciples, but to a large crowd gathered to hear Him. We cannot easily dismiss this as only for those who have been saved. However we read this passage, we cannot say our application is only for the one who follows Christ. What then can we make of this open invitation to ask, and we will recieve. It does not say we might recieve, or we will recieve if we are good. Still, the examples that the Messiah gives us here are not “pie-in-the-sky” requests. Bread and fish are about sustenance. The example is not asking for a bakery, but a loaf. Not an aquarium, but a fish. This seems in line with Jesus’ sample prayer where we ask for our daily bread. “Father, provide what I need!” is the spirit of this request. We can be confident that God wants to provide good things, and knows what we need.
This may apply to physical food, but obviously goes much deeper. Few, even then, went “seeking” food, or knocking for bread. We seek for meaning, we knock to seek entrance to gain communion, love, support, and answers. These our loving Father will provide, but not necessarily in the ways we expect. Would a son be disappointed if he requests bread, and he recieves a sandwich? Isn’t that even better and more satisfying? As a parent, I also know that the best answer for more child may be no, no more bread, but here is some meat. Or no more fish, but here are some vegetables. A loving Father would certainly do the same for us. Shouldn’t we really say, “Lord, please give me bread, unless you know I need something else more than bread. Then give me that, whatever it is, instead, and help me to recognize how much better it is!”
I think of our struggles to have a family. So often I felt like asking God what He was thinking. Joy and I loved God. We served Him, and wanted to raise children in the knowledge of Him as well. We felt called to be parents. We were sure that God wanted us to have children, and had called and equipped us for this role. Yet, we could not conceive. We knew we had a heart for adoption as well, but we didn’t have any money for what we thought was going to be a very expensive process. More importantly, we didn’t sense it was His timing for that. After spending money on treatment we felt was ethical and appropriate, we finally conceived Abby. This was truly a blessing, and God was good. He helped us through the adjustment, and in retrospect He had us wait until we had dealt with the things in our marriage that we had needed to take care of in preparation. As we debated options for further expansion, we didn’t feel like it was an appropriate time to go through fertility treatments again, but did long for more children. God brought my sister-in-law and her husband to a place where they were looking at adoption from the foster care system, and allowed them to share the process with us. We both knew that this was God’s plan. We did not know how long it would take, or where we would end up, but we knew that this was of God. This was where He was taking us. I cannot imagine now what my family would be like without the two wonderful children we hope to adopt this spring. They have been with us since June, and they are ours in every sense of the word except biology. God has blessed. Surely, God could have given us more biological children, and He still may do so, but He knew we could learn so much more through the process of providing foster care for, and then (Lord willing) adopting, these two precious souls. God certainly could have provided for them, and us, in other ways, but this has been such a time of growth for us, and we know that He has been at work, and still is! He didn’t give us what we asked the way we wanted, but did something even better, and this is what God will do, if we allow Him to and follow His guidance to put ourselves in the right place.
Lord, I come asking not for my preconceived ideas of what I think I need, but for Your fullness of knowing that You provide for all my needs from Your abundance. I can be sure that what You give is so much better for me than if I had simply gotten what I wanted. Your plan for my family has been beyond my wildest dreams. As hard as it is to say this, thank You for not giving us all the natural children Joy and I wanted. Thank You for knowing what we needed, and what was better for us. You are all wise, and when I cannot understand what You are doing, I can simply trust and wait for You to fully reveal Your plan. Thank You for teaching me to be more like You, and never allowing me to stagnate. The process may be painful, but knowing You is worth any cost. Walking this journey with You is better than any other road without You. I cannot imagine trying to find meaning and joy in life outside Your plan. Thank You for blessing me with the ability to feel Your love and know You at all. I am so undeserving of Your attention and care. I agree with Paul in Romans, I cannot help but offer all of myself as a living sacrifice. I refuse to fall back into this world’s pattern. This world can offer me nothing of value, while You can transform me with Your words of life! How awesome and humbling to know You love me and will provide my needs, and so much more. May I never wallow in pity and doubt Your wisdom. Continue the process of restoration You have been doing in my heart. May I spend all of my day in Your presence and learn to see things from Your perspective. Amen.