Like the crowd that was gathered that day long ago to be near Jesus; so our challenges do not come to us in single file line patiently waiting their turn. Instead our challenges feel like a crowd; urgently present and hungry.
All at once parents face children and their everchanging needs, manipulations, and questions. Business owners are challenged by suppliers, buyers, and employees. Educators are challenged with planning, parents, and discipline. Our health, our loved ones and the house all crowd us with their needs. It is never one thing at a time rather many responsibilities and challenges come at us at once and it feels like a crowd. And of course at times we will feel overwhelmed by our crowd of 5000 hungry challenges.
The disciples could not fathom how Jesus planned to feed a crowd from five barley loaves and two fish. “What are they among so many people?”
The crowd presses us. The crowd will not wait. The crowd does not leave.
Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.”
Sit down; settle in, relax, recline, rest.
When we sit down to pray we are in essence telling the crowd of challenges to settle down and rest for awhile.
Whether it is feeding a multitude or facing a whining child/sick parent/interviewing for a new job/replacing the dish washer, Christian wisdom teaches us to recline with what is so urgent and rest with it in prayer.
As people of faith we trust that what is going on is where God is. We believe that everything is grace. God dwells not just in what is going right or what is easy. God dwells with people. And with people there are challenges, there are problems, there are attitudes, and personalities. God dwells in it all.
Make the crowd sit down.
Sitting means we are open hearted to the grace in what is, simply as it is.
By sitting we cease grasping, controlling, pushing and pulling at our challenges and we rest in a larger grace that is present, always and forever. In that graced sitting God’s favorite work is allowed to have its way with us. Peace, hope and love become busy in us and prayerfully through us as we meet the challenges renewed and refreshed in God’s grace.