In reading the accounts of the loaves and the fish in Matthew 14 and 15, I realized that I make the same mistakes as the disciples did. I add up what I see and what is available in my own strength and come up with the wrong solution. Instead, I need to recognize Jesus arrives at the answer in ways beyond my comprehension. In Jesus’ math, all variables are determined, and He perfectly solves my most complex problems. He can multiply 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed 5000. He can increase 7 loaves and a few fish to satisfy 4000. He can take nothing and make it into anything He desires. What this means is that the economy, percentages, or expert opinions (whether from TV, books, the medical profession, or even church) do not weigh in so heavily. The most significant truths in any equation are that I am a child of God, and My Father commands all the power and resources in heaven and on earth to accomplish everything He wants to do. For the world is mine and all that is in it. Psalm 50:12b
Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17
When we lived in Hawaii, there was a delicacy called an opihi, a limpid which attached itself to rocks in the ocean. Since the demand for opihi grew exponentially, enterprising businesses decided to commercially farm opihi in saltwater tanks filled with rocks. What they found was a great disappointment. These opihi were puny and unmarketable. What went wrong? Being fed the perfect nutrients in a protected environment did not produce growth. Waves were added to the tanks to simulate the ocean – success! Their strength was obtained by clinging to the rocks as the strong waves buffeted them day after day.
Meditation on God’s creation provides a spiritual lesson for me. I desire a problem-free life and sometimes believe being in a safe, protected environment will optimize my spiritual growth. Similar to physical muscles growing through strain and stress of exercise, my faith and spirit grow stronger when challenged by life’s circumstances. The opihi give me the secret to success when the waves of life keep crashing upon me. Cling to the Rock.
Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge.
I learned about opihi from two different sources. Pastor Rick first shared the lesson with our congregation at Mililani Community Church. Later, my friend, Crystal gave me a children’s book featuring the story which is pictured below.