Testing from the Lord
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. John 6:5 The Greek New Testament word for testing is pi-rad-zo. The basic biblical idea of the word means that God will put us into certain situations which will improve our spiritual performance. God does not test us to find out something He does not already know. He tests us to better our lives. Jesus challenges us with tasks that greatly exceed our capabilities like feeding a massive crowd. "Philip answered him, "Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"
God has a long-standing practice of compelling us to look to him for help when it is impossible for us to succeed. The Lord loves to remind us "when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Cor 12:9 I become strong when faced with my inability. I turn to God to bail me out of my problems. "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" We must give our inadequacy to Christ. Paul rejoiced when he experienced his weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Some 2700 years ago the Psalmist quoted God as saying: Be still, and know that I am God: Ps 46:10 The Hebrew word "still" is raw-faw which means feeble or relaxed. It is OK to be feeble, just remember that I am God. Ronald Reagan kept a note on his desk from his mother: "You might be too big for God to use, but you are never too small." The tests and temptations of life should drive us into the ever-helping hands of Christ!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. gives parish missions and retreats. He is a member of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.