But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” For there were about 5,000 men there.
Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” So the people all sat down.
Relate: Peter was in prison. Jesus had risen and gone into heaven. Pentecost had come and the number of people joining the church had exploded into the thousands. The religious leaders and then even Herod had taken notice. First, the Jews in Jerusalem stoned Stephen. Then, in an attempt to win over the hearts of his people Herod had James, one of the three leading disciples captured, imprisoned, and killed. After that he caught the big fish. Peter was in jail and tomorrow he was scheduled to die.
That’s when the angel showed up. Peter was asleep chained between two guards while others stood watch outside his cell. An angel shows up and wakes the apostle. “Get up, get dressed, and start walking” it says. Did you ever wonder about this? That angel could easily have just transported Peter right to the prayer meeting he would head to anyways. But no, Peter has to do the work. Get up (why on earth would he be sleeping the night before he was to be executed), get dressed, get going. On the flip side, I wonder if Peter was a heavy sleeper. What if he simply rolled over and went back to sleep? It wasn’t until the angel was gone and he was halfway down the street that he realized that he wasn’t dreaming. So what if he blew off those first commands, rolled over, and kept on sleeping. Can you hear that angel talking to Jesus up in heaven? I tried to get him up. I kicked him three times, shook him… I was even tempted to stand him on his head, but the big lug just wouldn’t wake.” Jesus just rolls his eyes, “Oh Peter. I guess I’ll be seeing you tomorrow.”
React: God does what He is going to do only after we have done all that we can. It is not always the case, but it is true enough to make it a rule and then point out the exceptions. The widow’s oil did not start pouring until after all the jars had been collected. Gideon’s fleece didn’t get wet (or stay dry) until after he had already summoned the army. And the five thousand did not get fed until after they had been seated in groups in expectation of a meal.
All too often I find myself praying for a miracle I am not prepared to handle. I am saying, “God send revival to my church” while He is saying “You couldn’t handle it.” I want to see big things happen but I am not ready for them. I am not prepared for them. I have not positioned myself to be ready to respond and move forward when the miracle does happen. Why? Because as much as I am asking, I do not really believe, I do not really expect, that the miracle is going to happen. It is time to get up, get dressed, and start walking because God is going to move. Am I ready for it? Are you?
God, I want to be ready for what You want to do. Help me to be about Your work. Help me not just pray, but also to prepare for an amazing move beyond anything I could ever expect or imagine. Let me be about doing all that I can do so that I might see what You are willing to do.