Hope begins with risk; Hope confidently confesses there is more.
The journey to trust starts long before the moment we find ourselves standing at her gate; long before she invites us to walk through and experience what is on the other side. It's the whole expedition that leads us to trust that determines whether or not she can ever be trusted.
Let's call the journey to trust, hope.
Hope begins with risk.
Hope confidently confesses there is more. Hope innately knows there is more beyond what our minds can imagine and more beyond what our hands can produce. Hope creates awareness.
With hope, what may seem like inconsequential details to most; smells, tones, colors, ambient noises in the background, random passersby, become the setting, cast, and soundtrack for the moment of discovery.
The monotony takes on new life.
The mundane receives a new heartbeat.
Hope invites us to a way that gets inside the truth.
Hope invites us back into our imagination.
We've traded our imaginations in for the American Dream.
We've traded swords in for suits and stopped slaying dragons and started collecting pay checks.
The disciples of Jesus were exhausted. It had been an emotionally grueling few days. Jesus's cousin John, known as the the baptizer, had just been executed by King Herod for a party gift to one of his guests. John had paid the ultimate price for allegiance to Jesus. He was a faithful servant of God and a man of honor. Jesus was heart broken and sought solitude from the crowds. He withdrew in a boat to a desolate place, but when the crowds heard they followed.
Jesus arrived on shore and there was a crowd there waiting for him. Jesus had just lost his cousin, he was in mourning, but the need of the people was great and He has compassion on them. Compassion can be a tricky business. Compassion means to see need and do something about it. Regardless of scenario, regardless of situation, regardless of Jesus's emotional state, He moves with compassion for the people. He spent the day healing the sick, ultimately continuing the work of the kingdom. Something His cousin John had spent his life engaged in.
As the evening was enclosing in on them, the disciples approached Jesus and suggested a plan for the rest of the night. Their plan was to send the crowd back to their towns and villages, knowing they were in a desolate place, so they could eat and rest.
Jesus responds, "you feed them."
If there was ever a moment in the recorded stories of the gospels where I wish there were more details and commentary, this would definitely be one of those moments.
The scriptures record there being five thousand men in attendance. That's the number five with three zero's! And that was only the men. Who knows how many women and children there may have been there with them. Potentially tens of thousands on people in attendance, and Jesus tells the disciples, "you feed them."
Have you ever cooked for a dinner party of thousands?
What would you do?
The disciples immediately attempt to figure out the overwhelming dinner party accommodations. I'd imagine with the reality of inadequacy acutely present, the disciples return to Jesus with only five loaves of bread and two fish from a school aged boy amongst the crowd.
Reminiscent of the day Jesus sent Peter and his mates back out to fish after an exhausting failure of a work day with nothing to show for, they went out and returned with their boats full and sinking at the size of their haul. This time, the disciples returned with some bread and some fish. Clearly not enough food to feed thousands.
Jesus, "this is all we could find. This is all we have."
May we never forget the immensity of our inadequacy, and His overwhelming adequacy.
"Bring them here to me," Jesus responds.
Jesus takes our lack and shows His more. He looked to His Father and prayed a prayer, "then He broke the loaves of bread and gave them to the disciples", and the disciples began to hand out the bread to the crowd. Every time they gave a piece of bread they turned to find there was more where it had come from.
Jesus used their best effort and seemingly failed attempt to feed the crowd and multiplied their effort and equally their trust as He multiplied the fish and the bread until everyone ate and was satisfied.
The demonstration of power and authority raised immense amounts of curiosity. Hope bubbled up from the curiosity in something more. And their faith grew.
May our faith grow in the one who is able.