He had JUST fed the 5000...a miracle that never seemed as miraculous to me in America as it has since moving to Haiti.
No-one in America had ever asked me for food. And while I know there are people in great need in EVERY country, I never had a friend or family member growing up who wasn't sure what they were going to eat tomorrow.
But here, we are asked almost every day for food. It's as common to see someone grip their stomach and hold out their hand as it is to see someone wave. There have been a million times over 10 years that I have wished very much I could instantly feed someone...feed MANY someones...feed EVERYONE. And to have something left over? Unimaginable.
And here Jesus had just done it, totally unexpectedly and completely...not only 5000 people, but 5000 MEN, who we know would have come with a good many wives and children, who also ate and were satisfied.
Immediately, Mark says, Jesus made his friends get in the boat and head out, while he headed up the mountain to pray. Come evening, they were fighting the wind, and He walked out on the sea and spoke to them when they feared: "take courage; it's me, don't be afraid."
He got in with them, the wind died immediately, and they were utterly astonished, Mark says.
"They were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their hearts instead were hard."
How sad I felt, reading that as if for the first time yesterday. They were witnesses to such a great miracle, one I can so vividly imagine out on the hills by our rice patties, thousands gathered to hear as only places like Haiti gather...anxious to hear, anxious to see, anxious to experience, not too busy, ever. And they saw him after three hungry days far from town feed and feed and feed and feed hungry people. I wonder if anyone got anxious, as happens here, that perhaps there wouldn't be enough for them. I wonder what it was like to sit with miracle bread in your lap, bread you KNOW was a miracle. I wonder what it would have been like to be his friends, having the gift of doing the feeding, passing it around and around and around and seeing the basket never empty.
And yet they were astonished, not because it was astonishing to see Jesus walk on water, but also because they hadn't gained ANY insight from the loaves.
I just WORRY about the times I'm this kind of person. Hard. Hearted.
Man alive, we move on quick. We pray and pray for something, we ask and ask and beg and worry, and then we see God work, we shout our hallelujah, and a moment later, we have moved on, forgetting, worrying again, because we have hard hearts, because we've experienced the loaves, but haven't gained any insight from them.
It all has to change us, friends. We have to be changing, daily, as He is at work, daily. We have to stop and gain insight, as humble and hungry children, anxious to learn and grow...not simply anxious to see more miracles.
He is always at work, family. Maybe you feel like you haven't seen that in a while, and I have been there, too.
So let's look back at the places we have yet to gain insight while we wait to see Him again walking on the water, expectant so that when we do, we won't be astonished. We'll be praising the Lord with the confidence we always had that He's at work, He's been at work.
We cannot be hard-hearted, unable to learn anything. We must be living with expecting hearts that He is who He says He is and that He. Is. At. Work.
Do not give up on your people, my people.
It's not about them being able to change. It's not about them coming around. It's not about what they deserve, or our ability to even IMAGINE them changing.
It's about our faithfulness in prayer and testimony in their lives, and God's ability TO pour out His grace and transform their hearts. He isn't finished with them. He's feeding 5000, he's walking on water, and He is NOT finished with ANYONE walking around today. There is hope for them, and not because of them. And our God will never give up seeking them, so let us seek them too with Hope.
Do not give up on yourself.
He's not finished with us yet, and His plans always are for our good and His glory. He didn't give up on the disciples, not ever, when they didn't learn, and He's not giving up on us...so let us learn with His help.
With expectant hearts.
Most Sundays we are encouraged to worship with our brothers and sisters, but this morning's sermon was SO horrifically unbiblical, so incredibly ungodly...it was all we could do not to walk out of there deeply discouraged.
Take courage, He tells me. It's me.
It's why we're here, and we will persevere. We will persevere not because we are perseverant, not because we are particularly stubborn or courageous. We will persevere because though we couldn't see it this morning, He is at work. And I've seen Him do more than I could ever imagine, both in the precious pages before me and in my life and yours, and so I will trust now with an expectant heart that He's on the way, that He's already here, that He's at work.
He's at work. Let us trust Him, and let us be soft-hearted, that He might also be at work in US.