This photo was taken almost exactly one year ago as Vancouver got its first snowfall of the season. India, who loves the snow, ran to the window and sat there in her own little world admiring the beautiful falling snow. As she sat there we heard her murmur to herself “It’s enough” only to then later exclaim to mom and dad “It is, it’s enough!”
Tonight I was blessed to worship with the Renovatus Church community. They’re an amazing crew in general and for a period of time are spending their Sunday evenings reading and listening to the words of Jesus. Tonight the dialog was built off of Jesus’ words and this photograph of India.
For all of time humanity has been looking for answers, most often for easy answers. Generally our questions are about wants, needs, necessities, and preferences. How can I get what I want, why don’t I get what I want, why did I receive what I did not want? The way the narrative of Scripture was written (at least the portion read tonight) was such that the crowds of people were dying for tangible signs of God’s reality, they (like their ancestors) wanted God to meet their needs. So Jesus met their needs with bread and meat. Quite a few thousand people ate bread and meat till their stomachs were filled. But bread and meat were not primary on Jesus’ mind.
Later as he continues to dialog Jesus makes a strange point by saying that HE is in fact the bread/sustenance that they’re looking for–that satisfaction, that their needs and wants are not going to be met by bread and meat (whether it falls miraculously from the sky, is handed over by the hand of Jesus himself, or is found through hard work or labor). Jesus makes the audacious claim that he is enough. If you’re looking for bread and meat that’ll actually satisfy you’ve got to look at him. Oddly, though, it wasn’t that he was inviting people to look TO him for provision but instead to look to him AS the provision itself.
Over the last eight months my family’s needs have been in amazing ways. Financially speaking we are in a strange place. Major medical bills aside, if we were to make enough money to make our budget and pay our monthly co-pays/medicines/non-insurance covered visits/etc. we would make too much to qualify for our partially subsidized health insurance. So our options are: keep insurance and don’t pay for medicine or be uninsured with my prescriptions. Quite the pickle! (I could go into more detail, but that’s not the point) What has allowed us to make it is that there has always been a small amount of money trickling into our savings account through family and friends generosity. That extra non-salary income has allowed us to make ends meet. Here’s the cool part though, at least on four occasions our savings account has gone down to zero only to be replenished with varying amounts within at least 48 hours. Each time we scrape the bottom of the barrel there seems to be another shovel full of flour to be used for baking.*
And while that’s all awesome and I’m overwhelmed by the beautiful reality of it…it’s not the point. Not everyone who goes through our situation is taken care of by friends and family so effectively…and who’s to say that if this doesn’t drag on that eventually bankruptcy or something financially painful isn’t a part of our future?! The point is not that God has promised to provide us enough bread and meat!
Is He Enough?
The question that Jesus invites us to ask and answer is…is he enough? Am I satisfied with finding my hope in a resurrected Jesus? Am I satisfied in the invitation to follow him, to live with him, to die with him? Is Jesus enough? If everything else in my life fails is Jesus still enough? Is there hope beyond life being tidy, beyond things working out (as I think they should), beyond getting better? I think there is. I think that’s part of what made Jesus so radical–he was wholly connected to the pain and reality of this world while completely transcending it. He provided bread and meat but he invited people into a deeper reality–a more real reality (good grammar right?).
When India was staring out that window there wasn’t all that much snow on the ground. But it was enough for her. Even if it melted that afternoon she was willing and ready to take joy in what was given. I too want to take joy in what’s given, to find satisfaction in what I receive. Even if it all melts away before I’m ready I want to choose to be disappointed by hope than to never hope at all. But hope, true hope, is not founded in what we receive but in who we are given to or who gives themselves to us.
* (Late Addition) Let me clarify some by saying that through it all we are still working as employees of Renovatus as one of their daughter church plants. While things are moving slower than intended due to my health we have continued the work and continued drawing a part-time salary. Some have questioned where our income comes from and if it will ‘mess insurance things up’ if they send the church money. The answer is no, we are always in need of new financial partners to support Grassroots Conspiracy. If you’d like to join you can do so here: http://su.pr/1VwRyQ . Hope that clarifies!