Holy Spirit, let me rest tonight in your peace. By your power the Son came to us; by your power, unite me more fully to Him. Shelter me from all the worries of the day, the fears of the future and the failures of the past. Fill me instead with love for my God and Savior, hope for the future, and satisfaction in nearness to my King—Amen.
The day is yours, God, and also the night. Keep my heart fixed on you, and my mind at peace in you. Do not let me give in to temptation through tiredness, but let me rest my weary self in your unfailing strength. You shelter the weary, and restore those who come to you in their weakness. Teach me, when the day is done, to meditate upon your goodness and love—to let go, and delight in you.
“Most gracious God, to know and love whose will is righteousness, enlighten our souls with the brightness of Thy presence, that we may both know Thy will, and be enabled to perform it–Amen.”
-Roman Breviary, quoted in Great Souls at Prayer, 346.
In the human heart there is a hunger that nothing in this world can satisfy. We long for the fullness of life, and we have a sense that all the tragedy of life in this world wasn’t meant to be this way. We hunger for healing and peace, for God’s shalom.
It can be found. The hunger of the human heart can be satisfied; God has offered us the bread of life. “Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty'” (Jn. 6:35, NIV). The dialogue in which He spoke these words scandalized many, but He was speaking of the profound mystery of the gospel.
Our souls may be satisfied in Christ. Union with Him by faith is the way of life and peace and joy.
Do you hunger inside? God has offered you the bread of life. Come to Him, and hunger and thirst no more.
“O Lord, who art as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, who beholdest Thy weak creatures, weary of labor, weary of pleasure, weary of hope deferred, weary of self, in Thine abundant compassion and unutterable tenderness, bring us, we pray Thee, unto Thy rest–Amen.”
-Christian Rosetti, quoted in Great Souls at Prayer, 240
It is so easy to worry. We are constantly confronted with situations well beyond our control. In contemporary society, we employ a whole industry, the media, to bombard us every morning with updates of all the terrible things that have happened or may happen, most of which are quite beyond our control. It’s easy to worry.
But nothing is beyond God’s control.
The miraculous feeding of the 5,000 reminds us of this very comforting truth. With that great crowd gathered and evening coming on, Jesus’ disciples suggest that it’s time for a benediction and sending the people out to the sandwich shops. Jesus turns the tables, tells the disciples to feed the crowd. They look at the situation and say just what we would say in their shoes: how? It looks impossible. Humanly speaking, it is impossible.
But Jesus is not just a man. Fully human, He is also fully God. What is impossible for us is not impossible for Him. He takes the little they have–five small loaves of bread and two fish–and multiplies it to feed the whole horde.
The miracle is narrated in such a subtle and understated way:
“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over” (Lk. 9:16-17, NIV).
There’s no flashy display of divine power. The bread and fish don’t immediately become huge stockpiles of food in front of everyone’s eyes. But that meager bit of food multiplies, and becomes enough for a 5,000 man feast–with more leftovers than they had to begin with!
Jesus gives a banquet in the wilderness.
He can deal with the things that frighten us, too. Nothing is beyond God’s power. No cry of His child is hidden from His sight. There is a tremendous peace for us, waiting for us to grab hold of it, if we will meditate on God’s ability to provide, and learn to rest in Him.