After John the Baptist’s death, we learn in Matthew 14:13 that when Jesus heard this He withdrew from the boat and went to a desolate place by himself. However, even though Jesus removed himself from them and the Word from them at that time, the crowd still followed Him. As I read this, I began to think about what it means to go into a desolate place, some versions say deserted place. In dictionary.com it states that desolate means (1)
I began to think about how in life, we enter into phases of our lives that are like desolate places. Places or circumstances that seem like there is no hope, we feel that we have been abandoned by family, friends, and sometimes even God, and there is an overwhelming blanket of loneliness. We wonder, “where is God?” As I began to think more about this passage, I thought that these people didn’t have to follow Jesus to that desolate place. They could have stayed where they knew there was food. They could have stayed where they walked by sight and not by faith. However, they didn’t, because they wanted more. They wanted Jesus and what He had to offer, even if it meant following Him into a deserted place that made no rhyme or reason.
I want you to stop and take a moment here to reflect on when you have found yourself in a place wondering where God was, did you go and follow Him? Did you go and seek and search out His Word? Did you continue in His Word or did you ask why God hasn’t come to you? You see, the Bible tells us that He will never leave nor forsake (abandon) us. Therefore, we know that He has not fully left us; however, we also know that if we feel that we are in a desolate or deserted place then we need to seek out Jesus and the Word and continue to follow it, where ever it may take us.
I have never viewed this passage of scripture this way, but there is so much hope here. You see, when Jesus arrived and saw the crowds, He didn’t send them away. No, He had compassion on them. In a place that the world would look at and say, “look at that place, it’s barren, lonely, no hope there, abandoned, devastated,” but the people of faith said, “but Jesus is there.” And because of that, Jesus had compassion and healed their sick. Amazing!!! As a person that has experienced sickness, I can only imagine the excitement, birth of hope, and the feeling of peace and assurance that was experienced right there in the place of desolation. You see, it doesn’t matter what people may call the place you are at, the circumstance and what you may see. When Jesus shows up and you have the faith to follow Him and His Word, even a deserted, desolated, barren, lonely, hopeless situation can’t stop the hand of God moving the impossible to possible, the sick to healed, the hopeless to hopeful, and the barren to fruitful. He is Jesus and all things are possible with Him!!!
As we continue in this passage of scripture, we read in Matthew 14:15-18 that it says, “15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” This amazes me! The disciples knew who Jesus was and what He was capable of doing; nonetheless, the people that were closest to Him at that time saw an ending point of what Jesus should do for the people. You see, Jesus saw that the people still had a need. They needed to be feed, in the desert where, well…there was not much food and there was definitely not enough to meet the need unless a miracle was going to happen. However, Jesus is the Lord that provides all our needs and sustains us even in the desolate and deserted places. Sometimes you will have people tell you, “well you know God already did this for you, so maybe you should just go over there and take care of this through them or by yourself.” Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we don’t have duties and responsibilities that God clearly lays out in His word that we need to take care on our own part (that’s a whole other blog). What I am saying, don’t let man tell you when Jesus is done, you let the Holy Spirit lead and guide you and let the amazing blessings that only come from God pour out the windows of heaven while you continue to live, walk, and have faith in Jesus and the Word of God.
The disciples said to Jesus, “we have only five loaves here and two fish.” And Jesus Said, “bring them here to me.” I know this can equate to so many situations for so many people in the times across all the generations. We only have $10, but we have a $50 bill. They only have a 30% chance to make it and the odds are slim. He’s never gonna change. You know alcoholism and addictions run in the family. You have a 75% chance of getting that mental illness, because your mom had it. The courts have never ruled like that before. They have already been in recovery 7 times. The likelihood of the disease activating in your lifetime is an 80% chance it will, and there is no cure. And then Jesus said, “bring them here to me.” He’s still saying it today, no matter the deserted place, no matter the barren situation, no matter hopelessness…there is always and will forever be a God that says, “bring them here to me….I am Hope, I am Life, I am Healer, I am Deliverer, I am Provider, I am El Shaddai, the All Sufficient God, the One that doesn’t just sustain you, but gives you above and beyond all your needs.
And the disciples did just that, and the scripture tells us that “Jesus ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied.” With God, there is always order. He will instruct us in the order to go and if we do it in faith and obedience then there will be a blessing. Jesus did not want to send the people away before He fed them. And just in that moment that He fed their physical bodies, He wants to feed our spirits to the point that our cups are running over. Jesus wants to minister into all your needs. He wants to feed you even in the deserted places. You just have to have the faith to find and follow Him there. He wants to take impossible situations of five loaves and two fish and turn it into dinner for 5,000 men plus maybe even the same amount of women and children. At the end of the passage there, we read that they all ate and were satisfied. No body left that day hungry. No body left that day unsatisfied. Jesus supplied all their needs. So I want you to remember, that if today you are in a desolate or deserted situation or place, that while the world and your flesh may be saying look how barren and hopeless it is, your faith can say, but Jesus is there. And when the nay sayers, the devil and the doubt within you say, but you only have five fish and two loaves to meet the need of over five thousand people, I pray that you will always hear the ever so loving and gentle voice of Jesus saying, “bring them here to me.”
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray in the name of Jesus for those that find themselves in deserted and desolated places and situations. I pray God that they bring every situation to you, I pray they surrender every dark, hopeless, impossible circumstance into the hands of the God that can do only what you can do. I pray Lord that you allow them to hear your voice telling them to bring it to you and that in their spirits they know that because you are there in the situation, it doesn’t have to be desolate or deserted anymore. Give them peace and comfort, Jesus, guide their hearts in all the situations that they face. Move in their lives as never before. I pray that each one is fed and filled and no longer is hungry and that all are satisfied as you minister into all their needs as only you can. I thank you for you all have done, and all you are going to do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.