One of my most recurrent thoughts when considering my relationship with God is trust. Because I am feeling a great deal of turmoil in my own life right now, I think that trust is hard to come by. I feel very confident that it will get easier, once my heart heals. For now, I just pray to God for comfort, love and peace, and try to take each hour as it comes. Get through this hour without breaking down, and when this hour is up, get through the next one. Some are easier than others. Some are brutal. I must keep telling myself that God would not send this pain to me unless I was meant to have it and grow from it.
As I went to bed last night, I was internalizing the chapter I’d read from the Gospel of John, and there are a few verses I want to write about in particular. I’ll start with verse 35: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Contextually, this happens right after Christ performs the miracle of feeding the five thousand on the banks of the sea of Galilee, and then walks on water. With only five loaves and two small fishes, Christ gave thanks for the bread and broke it, dividing it and spreading it among the crowd of five thousand. So the most literal interpretation is that he performed these miracles to convince the crowd, and in order to set up this next teaching moment. To my understanding, the “bread of life” is one of the most lengthy records of Christ’s speech, and also ranks among the most important.
In the context of multiplying the loaves, Christ is speaking literally about food. The followers who have gathered there have eaten, against all reason, “as much as they wanted” (John 6:11). The obvious subtext here being that what gave them their fill was not only the bread and fish, but also Christ himself. They were sated both because they’d eaten, and because their spirits were full. In terms of my own life, I take heart from this lesson. One of the reasons I am seeking Christ in my life is because of an emptiness I feel spiritually, and I have great hope that he will fill my heart and soul with his love and grace.
The next portion of the Gospel is also of great interest to me right now. “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (verse 37). Similarly, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up on the last day” (verse 44).
One of my fears about my young faith is that I am seeking Him for selfish reasons, and that I am doomed to backslide once my pain subsides. I don’t want to lose my way, and I don’t want my faith to be for the wrong reasons, because then it would truly be doomed to fail. What I think Jesus is saying here is that there is no wrong reason for seeking God, and that if I feel a calling, it is not because I made it up in my head, but because the Father put it there in my heart. God is drawing me near, and from that I take great comfort. According to the Gospel, it is God’s will that I seek him, and that he draws me nearer to Himself with great purpose.
Father above us, Father among us, Father in our hearts, I ask that you draw me nearer to you with every passing hour. Thank you for being my bread.