Promises and Miracles
John 6: 1-21
6 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing those who were ill. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming towards him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, ‘It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’
10 Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.’ 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, ‘It is I; don’t be afraid.’ 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
I love this line in the reading: “Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself”.
Our plans are not God’s plans. Of that there can be no doubt.
We can get so caught up in a moment and in an idea of ourselves that our prayers can consist of a kind of spiritual shopping list. And we wonder why some of our prayers seem to go unanswered? But do they? I’m not so sure. God sees us clearly - our beginnings and endings and I know he wants the very best for us.
I think a miracle is often when we turn left, not right, and enter a world of new possibilities mapped out by a father who loves us. But sometimes that journey can seem to make no sense. It’s then we need to commune with creator and wait patiently for the way to be made clear.
Let me share a little story. Just you and me. One day on the banks of Loch Lomond, at a pretty low ebb, pretty much on my own (or so I felt) I prayed God would send a decent life partner my way and I went on to detail exactly what I wanted in said partner – I could have painted a picture… It would be sad if it wasn’t so funny.
1 day later I actually met her. As if created just for me. 26 years later and 3 kids.
That’s a miracle.
Simple Minds wrote in 'Promised You a Miracle':
“Promised you a miracle
Belief is a beauty thing
As golden days break wondering”
Lord our ways are not your ways
But your ways are always the best ways
When I feel let down
When I feel life is crashing in
When I can see no good thing in a situation
Remind me to hand it all over to you.
The whole mess, all the tiny threads of space and time that you can mould into something unexpected, something wonderful
Thank you for the day that will come when your plan becomes clear!