I was speaking to my daughter Alicia last night and enjoying her faith and spirit, when she made a valuable observation. Quoting her husband’s recent Gospel Doctrine lesson, she called to my thinking the perspective of the disciples whom the Master had instructed to feed the multitude of 5000 men and their families with a few fishes and five loaves.
There must have been long moments of doubt and fear, of feeling inadequate and incapable. No amount of logic could have suggested a way for them to obey the Master’s commandment. Yet, they did as Christ instructed them, organizing the people into groups of hundreds and fifties, knowing all the while that there was no food, and very soon this fact would be known by everyone.
As I pondered their predicament, I realized that most of my life has been looking at the 5000 with a few fishes in my hand. As I have spoken to many of you, it seems apparent that your lives have been defined by the same impossible tasks, and the same gut-wrenching fear and feelings of inadequacy.
The next question was – how many of you have actually seen the 5000 fed and filled, and then taken up the twelve baskets of fragments? Alicia said that many hands went up, and faith filled the room as many testimonies bore witness to the Lord’s grace and deliverance.
Like Abraham, life presents us at times with impossible obstacles. Abraham’s great hope was in his beloved son Isaac, whom he was then commanded to slay as a sacrifice. Like Abraham, often we cannot see an earthly means to resolve the apparent paradox of our lives. Yet, the lesson God taught us in Abraham’s obedience was that faith and obedience pierce the impenetrable darkness. We don’t need to know how God will save us, or even when, only that He will – in some unexpected and perfect way. Abraham actually believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead if need be. This is the faith that overcomes the impossible. This is the faith that allows us to lay everything upon the altar, believing with great faith that our sacrifice and faith will be returned to us in a 100-fold blessing upon our heads.
I don’t really know why it is true, but it seems to be a tenet of faith, that the Lord delivers at 11:59 – a few seconds to midnight. I don’t know if it is because He wants us to maintain faith in Him even while the floodwaters rise, and our lives power dive toward ruin, or if it is simply better for us, and by diamond-hard believing the blessings are greater even still.
What I do know is that He never fails to save. When we put our trust in Him, and we wait, He does come, and the 5000 are always fed. I am a personal witness of these things. Miracles of deliverance and blessings of tender mercy have been the theme of my entire life. There has never been a time when I sought deliverance with faith empowered by obedience, and patience fueled by inspired faith, that relief failed to arrive, and most often in astonishing, unmistakably miraculously ways – almost always at the last possible moment.
© April 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved for the contents of this blog and website.