Starting in about 3rd grade I began to fall behind in school. It started with spelling and vocabulary, then moved into math and science as well. My grades continued to struggle all throughout middle school and that mindset followed me until my sophomore year in high school. I was someone who struggled in school. I wouldn’t allow myself to succeed, and it felt like any success didn’t belong to me. I hated the shame of failure and I would do whatever it took to hide that shame. It was a dysfunctional cycle. I was afraid to ask questions in class because I didn’t want the rest of the class to think I was stupid. I can vividly think of multiple times where I would sit at my desk and hope that someone else would ask a question that I had, just so others didn’t think that I didn’t understand the problem. This left me confused and doomed to failure when it came homework and test time.
By the time I hit my sophomore year, I found something that I was passionate about. Film and Media, this was finally something that I could really grasp and understand. I worked as hard as I could in my media classes because I enjoyed the work and also because I felt like I needed to prove to everyone that I wasn’t stupid. This became my driving motivation to succeed, to show others that I wasn’t a failure.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve tried and failed? Maybe you’ve had situations at home that was out of your control? How do you handle these situations? Do you tense up and try to act tough, prove that you can handle anything?
Let’s look together at John 6, which opens up with a story about Jesus feeding the 5,000 with a couple fish and five pieces of bread. Now I know that I told you that I’m not great with math, but I can tell you that 2 fish and 5 pieces of bread won’t feed over 5,000 people. So lets jump into the text and see what happens,
After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. 3 Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. 4 (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) 5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.
7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”
8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. 9 “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”
Let’s stop right here for just a second. Jesus asks Philip a question, and Jesus already knows how this is going to play out. “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” Immediately in Philip’s mind he is thinking about the hopelessness of the situation. He thinks that even if we worked and saved for months, we still wouldn’t have what we needed. Andrew’s mindset is different, he goes into action trying to solve the issue but comes up short in verse 9, “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”
Check out what Jesus does next,
10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. 12 After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” 13 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.
14 When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” 15 When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.
What an awesome day! The disciples must have been completely blown away by the awesome miracle that Jesus preformed that day. The next part of this story happens later that evening.
16 That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. 17 But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. 18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. 19 They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” 21 Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!
Could you just imagine! I’m sure all of the disciples couldn’t stop talking about what Jesus had done earlier that afternoon,
16 That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. 17 But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. 18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough.
After the awesome day the disciples just had, they load up in a boat ready to head across the lake, several of these guys are experienced fishermen, so naturally they’re comfortable in a boat at sea, when a huge storm blows in. These guys are working frantically to save their lives. They are rowing rowing and rowing but they’re not getting anywhere! I can imagine Peter, one of the experienced fishermen standing up and telling Andrew, “Lower the sails, John and James you guys work together with the oars, Matthew, have you ever even been on a boat in a storm before?! And everyone else, grab a bucket and get all of this water out of the boat!!!”
If we die here we’re not going down without a fight!
19 They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” 21 Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!
It’s almost like one of those State Farm commercials when the agent shows up right in things are about to get bad, and just like that Agent Jesus pulls his friends out of danger and the disciples are safe!
Imagine being one of these guys for just a second. I think I’d be the guy throwing up on the shore. The others are probably trying to catch their breath, maybe some nervous laughter.
The first part of Psalm 46:10 says, Be still, and know that I am God!
Let’s go back to my earlier question, Have you ever been in a situation where you are fighting and trying and it seems like you just can’t succeed?
Maybe you’re like me and you struggle in school, or maybe something else entirely.
Be still, and know that I am God!
Things might not always get better. Believe me, I have prayed many times that God would miraculously correct my incorrect math problems, or that by some minor miracle, I would spell a word correctly.
But when I’m still, and I trust God I know that I am created on purpose for a purpose. I’m not stupid and I’m not a failure! It’s important to always give it out best, but at the end of the day, Be still, and know that I am God!