“Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke them. He kept giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd. Everyone ate and was filled. They picked up twelve baskets of leftover pieces,” –Luke 9:16-17, CSB
Most of us have heard this story more times than we can recall. But think about this: Jesus blessed the loaves and fish and then He broke them. Why? Why didn’t He multiply the bread and fish without breaking them? I don’t have the answer for that, but what I do know is that He often uses the same method with His children today.
He takes us in His hands, blesses us, and then He breaks us. He doesn’t break us for the sake of breaking us; He does it to bring about multiplication. He doesn’t do it out of a desire to cause us pain but out of a desire to feed the empty and hungry people around us. It hurts to be broken. It is a sacrifice to pour out and feed those around us (and I hope you know I’m not necessarily talking about physical food; I’m talking about spiritual food).
“Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.”
–John 15:2, CSB
But do you know what happened when Jesus was finished breaking those “five loaves and the two fish”? “Everyone ate and was filled” and “they picked up twelve baskets of leftover pieces.” There were over five thousand men, not counting the women and children! Can we even imagine this? It was truly a miracle! Yet, when these five loaves and two fish were placed in Jesus’s hands and blessed and broken by Him, it was more than enough. Did you notice how many baskets of leftovers there were? Twelve. Jesus didn’t just supply their need; He also provided a surplus for His disciples, those He had chosen and called to follow Him.
If you’re staying close to God and living a life of self-sacrifice to Him but you feel broken today, I hope that you take comfort in knowing that God always has good plans for and through our brokenness. If Jesus has blessed and broken you (or even permitted you to be broken by another source), He may be using you right now to bring needed spiritual nourishment to those around you. Right now as you are in the middle of your pain and struggle, you are being used by Jesus to feed the spiritually hungry and strengthen the weak.
With Jesus, your brokenness is not the end; it’s only the beginning of change and good works for His glory and Kingdom. I know it hurts, but stay in His hands. Stay close to Him and trust Him. His plan is good even when we don’t understand. His plan is good even when we can’t see the work that He is doing. If you are His child, He loves you, and you are in His hands. In the hands of Jesus, you are blessed even as you are broken.
“He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort.”
-2 Corinthians 1:4-7, CSB
Featured Image by Daniel Watson