Read Mark 8:1-10
A movie that particularly annoys me is the Bill Murray classic ‘Groundhog Day’ (parents you may need to explain this one to your kids). The basic plot of this movie is that the main character, Phil (played by Bill Murray) is forced to relive the same day over and over again until he finally gets it right. I find it particularly frustrating because of just how thick Phil seems to be – faced with the same scenario over and over again it seems to take him forever to work out how to get it right.
The disciples seemed to be having their own ‘Groundhog Day’. Jesus was talking to another massive crowd, this time about four thousand people and he turns to his disciples and says, “We have to feed them, we’re in the middle of the desert, if we send them away they will likely faint before they find any food.” Feels like a similar scenario doesn’t it? The disciples have been there before – all they have to do is a find a little bit of food and Jesus will do one of his feeding everyone miracles again. But it’s like the disciples have completely forgotten the feeding of the five thousand because they turn to him and ask how it would be possible to feed so many people out in the dessert. Yet Jesus persists, this time they had seven loaves of bread and again a couple of small fish. Just like last time, Jesus gives thanks and then allows the disciples to distribute the food amongst the crowd, and just like last time there is enough food for everyone with leftovers.
For some reason I haven’t quite figured out why the disciples didn’t expect the miraculous. Not just on this occasion but on so many occasions when Jesus did the miraculous it appears to have completely caught the disciples off guard. I can just imagine them standing around saying, “Well I didn’t expect that!” I guess that’s why I like the disciples – because at the end of the day I think I am a little (or a lot) like them. I have experienced God’s miracles, I have seen things that I can’t explain, yet each time God turns up, a little (or sometimes a lot) of me is in genuine shock – “I didn’t expect that!”. I’m learning to change my thinking, instead of praying hoping that God might intervene in a situation, I’m learning to pray expectantly. When you pray, may you also pray expectantly.
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- Can you think of a time when you have experienced God do something in your life or in the life of someone you know?
- Why do you think it’s important to share stories of when God has turned up in people’s lives?
- How can being reminded of these stories help you when you are feeling discouraged?
- You might want to make a list of stories as a family that remind you of God’s faithfulness. These can be an encouragement when you are going through tough times.
- Take time to listen for God’s promptings this week as you spend time in prayer, reading God’s word (the bible) and observing the world around you.