WHERE TO TURN IN A FIX

There’s never a shortage of fixes. When I say a fix what I mean is there are always things in life that require tough decisions and sometimes even a miracle.

We just went through Matthew 14 in our small group Bible study at the jail. The chapter has three distinct parts to it and at first glance they don’t seem to be related to each other. First we read about John the Baptist telling Herod directly how it isn’t right for him to have his brothers wife. Of course Herod and his female counterpart don’t appreciate how John speaks so directly to them about this, so the idea comes up to have him killed. Herod, being a politician and public figure, doesn’t want any more upheaval on his watch than necessary, so he’s in a fix. We read where he has a big party, and the daughter of Herodias dances.  Apparently between the excitement of the party, the dancing, and no doubt a little bit of adult beverages, Herod tells Herodias’ daughter he will give her whatever she wants. Herodias’ mother prompts her to ask for John the Baptists’ head on a platter. Herod honors her request and has him killed. Without God Herod’s options boiled down to one and that was to remove that which was causing his grief. Between the sin, seduction and cover up John the Baptist lost his life.

As the scene shifts we read where Jesus hears the news and seeks a solitary place to grieve. Of course, like many times before, a crowd hears about his location and follows him. Jesus feels compassion for them and heals all that were sick among them. There is such a crowd that has gathered now the disciples suggest Jesus should send them away so they could go and find something to eat for themselves. Jesus, like always, still having compassion for them, tells the disciples to feed them. Of course the disciples only see the five loaves and two fish and think “This will never be enough!” Jesus, on the other hand, looks up to heaven, gives thanks, breaks the bread, hands it to his disciples and tells them to dispense it to the crowd. Everyone had their fill and there was even twelve baskets full left over. So in this story we see Jesus is in a fix. He’s looking out over a large crowd of hungry people and he’s only got a little bit of food and disciples that are telling him to send them away.

Although Jesus is the son of God, and he is sinless, he still lived as a man and had to walk by faith in his father. Rather than send them away, or attempt to figure out how to fix the situation, he simply looked up to heaven and trusted that his father would direct him. You see, unlike Herod, Jesus knew his father had the wisdom to provide answers for our tight spots. In fact one could argue that God himself orchestrates these fixes precisely to get us to look to him for the answers.

Immediately after the crowds had been fed Jesus sent the disciples away in a boat so he could finally have a little time alone. Later in the night a storm raged on the sea and the disciples were terrified. Jesus came walking toward them on the water and at first they thought it was a ghost. Peter said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said to him “Come.” Peter stepped out of the boat and was making his way toward Jesus and was doing fine until he started to see the wind and waves. He became frightened, started to sink and cried out “Lord, save me!” Of course Jesus reached out and brought him back into the boat. He scolded him a little bit saying, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” This last part of the chapter is showing us Peter’s fix. Unlike Herod he wasn’t trying to cover up for a sin and unlike Jesus he wasn’t desiring to care for others but he was trusting God for the miraculous and his faith was tested.

Each of us face times in our lives when the fix is in. The question then isn’t simply why is this happening or what am I going to do but rather where are you going to look? Are you going to try and fix the fix by your own intellect and strength or are you going to look to Christ to show you the way?

Louie

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