It was late in the evening. I had worked a 14-hour day. We just returned home from a bible study I was leading and I was bracing myself on the other side of the counter looking in at my frustrated wife standing in the middle of the kitchen when it hit me: we don’t have a good marriage.
It was a debilitating epiphany.
Kelly was my girlfriend in 5th grade. I remember thinking how beautiful she was (still is). She had hair that looked like curly fries (still does). We had even gotten in trouble for kissing on the playground. Even though I didn’t grow hair in certain areas until I was in High School, I was still an aggressive 10-year-old. We dated in High School. Married in college. Now eight years and three kids later we stood across from each other confused, unable to communicate and pretty much depleted.
How did this happen?
Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t tell us what a great couple we are or how cute our family is.
I felt an incredible numbness. I couldn’t move. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to pursue her. I spend 50 plus hours a week pursuing people. That’s my job! When I come home I want to rest. I want a break. I just want to watch TV.
Does she not know that? Have I not shared with her all the affirmation I have been receiving from the people I’ve been pursuing? Does she not know all the good I’m doing? Does she not know that people need me?
How did this happen to me?
My dad owns a commercial tile construction company. During the summers of my High School days, I would work for him. I hated it. But tonight the thought of laying tile, even though it is hard, laborious work, seemed so restful. Maybe if I were a tile-setter I would want to be the “spiritual leader” of my family, because I don’t now. I don’t have the capacity.
Earlier that same day I was preparing a lesson on the feeding of the 5,000. Before Jesus performed this miracle, he asked Philip, one of his disciples, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” The author then tell us that Jesus already knew that he was going to solve the problem miraculously.
So why did Jesus ask?
When confronted with an overwhelming need or a debilitating epiphany, what’s our response?
Philip’s response was “It would take almost a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Looking at my 5th grade girlfriend, grown-up and heartbroken, my response was “I can’t fix this and I don’t have the energy to try. At least not right now. I have a few things I have to get done at work first. Right now all I want to do is watch TV.” And that’s what I did.
Standing in the kitchen I knew what my response should be. I still know what my response should be. It’s part of my job to know the right response. But even as I write these thoughts down, evoking pretty s*!tty feelings about myself (please don’t go back and read my previous post…you will all turn on me), I still don’t really want to turn to Jesus with my overwhelming need.
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).
Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
So glad it’s all about grace.