Multiplying a Whole Lotta Nothin
When your child is 8 you don’t call them diapers any more, do you?
I change the boy, my flawlessly handsome silent boy. I wrestle the “thing” on. He’s getting so big I can barely move him. I dress him. I roll, and push and pull and maneuver shoes, socks, shirt, feeding tube, chairs on wheels, pants…all while looking in those eyes – those beautiful eyes. I talk to him. I kiss him and remind him that prayers can happen behind closed lips. I ask him if he knows how much Jesus loves him.
How do you feel so blessed, even in the act of doing something incredibly humbling for you both? I honestly feel honored to get to serve this boy. It is a privilege to wash feet. It is holy.
But there is no hiding it. There is hurt too. I feel deflated in the same instant. My back is tired. Stress is a heavy smog. Is fear for the future tugging me down? The idea that the girls asked for my help 5 minutes ago?
Friend, no matter how different our lives are or how similar, I know you ride this roller coaster in your own way, and I want to pull you in, to give you a hug and to tell you about the lessons I’m learning from babes and ridiculous stories.
A Babe’s Prayer
Oh to hear my 5-year-old bless the food the other night!!! I won’t lie, she volunteered to pray, mostly because she had come to the realization that it was like playing freeze with the whole family. I might have cringed had you been in the room, because her theology is all over the board at this point, and her prayers can border on are often on the bizarre side, but come on in anyway.
With tangled curls and furrowed brow she bows her head and begins with a high dose of drama and all seriousness, “Dear Jesus, thank you for this daily bread that you give us. Thank you for this bread that is your body. Thank you that you broke your body by dying on the cross, that you break this bread for us…”
Hubbs and I suppress laughter and smiles across the kitchen table. But I hold my breath too, because I feel the edge of something big…some piece of the kingdom that abides in such as these.
A Ridiculous Story
Oh the flood! In Matthew 15 I read the words again, 3rd time for the week. The ridiculous story – 7 loaves feeding thousands?! And yet, this night I somehow had a different lens, in dappled light I saw the framework of the thing…and it looks like this:
Jesus sees a need, an incredibly immense need.
He informs his disciples of this need, and makes it plain that he’d like to take care of it.
They ask, HOW?????
Jesus asks them what they have.
They say, “We have a tiny pittance, a drop in the ocean.”
He says, “Give it to me.”
Jesus takes it.
He breaks it AND gives thanks.
Jesus gives it back to distribute.
They distribute the bread.
Somewhere in the surrender, in the changing of hands or breaking…IT MULTIPLIES.
The impossible happens.
AND there are leftovers.
And It Gets REAL
This is no longer someone else’s story. This is ridiculously real. This is my Lord pointing me to a need, in my spouse, my kids, my neighbors, in the world.
This is me saying, I don’t have enough. I have NO IDEA how. I am a drop in the ocean.
I ask – “How?” And I feel it – I feel the magnetic pull, the calm request that I surrender what I have. Sometimes it’s out of my abundance or sometimes like the widow at Zarephath. He takes it. He sometimes breaks it.
The same steps. The same result. There is multiplication.
There can be multiplication in the surrender, in the obedience, in the thanks giving, in the breaking.
Answers can come wrapped in questions.
When I dwell in surrender, I cannot run dry.
When you dwell in surrender, you cannot run dry.
Let’s live on this mountainside.
For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. – I Kings 17:16
Dear Jesus, I thank you that you give beauty in the breaking, in the washing of feet, in the thanks, all when there seems to never be enough, when I don’t feel like I’m enough, when I have a whole lotta nothing to give (feel like). YOU are the beauty in the breaking. You did pour yourself out as broken bread and poured out wine, Lord…only to multiply, only to extend your life to me, to all who ask. May you give us all the strength to surrender our scraps, to give thanks for it, to give of it freely and to watch you multiply what was pittance without you. Lord may we learn in the questions and may we learn to ask of you that you might unfold the path to surrender, to giving thanks, to giving, to multiplication, to leftovers!
All praise and honor be to you! Amen.