Our generation of women is brimming with strong, empowered girls who are loving Jesus fiercely in new and passionate ways, glorifying God with their academic, athletic, and compassionate drive to do more for the Kingdom of Heaven. I look to these women and am impressed by their courage. Unfortunately, I end up comparing myself to these women, causing feelings of inadequacy and ingratitude to pulse through my heart and mind. I begin to wonder why God didn’t give me greater speaking ability, athletic talent, an artist’s eye, or a photographic memory. When I fall into this “woe-is-me mentality” and “why-me-God” prayer life, I am reminded of the sixth chapter of John where Jesus feeds the five thousand.
One thing I love about Jesus is that the first thing He asked when He saw the massive group of people congregating to listen to Him was: “Where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?” (John 6:5b) Often, I see Jesus with laughter in His eyes and heart as He tests His disciples (John 6:6). The disciples are quick to despair though, as Phillip retorts, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little” (John 6:7). Andrew offers up a child’s five barley loaves and two fish, but despairingly questions Jesus, “But what are they for so many?” (John 6:9). It is as if the disciples have forgotten they are in the presence of God incarnate, and impossibility is just a word. Jesus simply responds, “Have the people sit down” (John 6:10).
Before Jesus distributed the food though, He gave thanks. Grace is so present here, as Jesus gave thanks for the not-enough, for the food that could not possibly fill five thousand bellies. This reminds me of Moses protesting that there is no way that he could speak eloquently enough, be in charge, and lead the people out of Egypt. I see myself in Moses and in the disciples, constantly arguing that I am not enough and that surely He cannot intend to use me, a college student.
I’m sure the little boy, whose name we never learn, did not think that his five loaves and two fish were enough to feed the five thousand. He probably didn’t think it was enough to feed his family. And yet, Jesus distributed the food to the people and there were twelve baskets left over.
Like the disciples, I often forget that God is present; that He is walking alongside me, guiding and teaching. I wonder how often we would protest our inadequacies if we realized that the God who created the universe is standing next to us. Although we may feel that what we are given is not enough to change anything, God fills the holes and gaps, stitching together our mistakes and brokenness until we are so much more than enough.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13
With God, I am twelve baskets left-over enough. When I am relying on His power I am so much more than enough. There is grace in realizing that God allows us to stumble through life making our own decisions, but is still providing for every need and every task. God opens doors so that we may walk through them confidently with Him by our side.
You were made to do big things for Jesus. You were not made to sit on the sidelines of history, feeling inadequate and less than. You were made for a purpose, to offer what you’ve been given to God and let Him do the rest. You were made to have faith in what He provided you with, to have faith in His plan, and to have faith that your five thousand will come. It may not be dramatic and it may not be grand and newspaper-worthy, but it will be God’s grace, because you couldn’t have done it alone.
// image via tumblr (original source unknown)