5-16-24: Why Does God Allow Insurmountable Problems?

Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew
what he would do.
John 6:5-6

We come to a well known story in the Bible – the Lord’s feeding of the 5,000. This is a great miracle which brings glory to the Lord. In the beginning of the story there is a a verse that gives us insight into one of God’s many purposes behind this miracle.
Lifting up his eyes Scripture tells us the Lord looked up.. It is interesting to study what one looks at. Here we see the Lord look at people. He also would often lift up his eyes and look to the Father for wisdom or guidance or to give praise. He looks to the Father and looks at the needs of people. This gives us insight into how to take our eyes off this world and turn them on the things that matter in heaven.
Seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him The word see means to “to observe intently, to gaze upon or to contemplate; to see (concentrate on) so as to significantly impact (influence) the viewer”.
The Lord sees a great throng or multitude hurrying to where they know He is. He studies them carefully Jesus said to Philip The Lord turns to one of his disciples, Philip. He is a disciple that is very rational and logical. So the Lord poses a question to him to test his analysis of the situation.
Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat? The Lord poses a logical question. There is an expectation in it. The Lord knows God’s word says they are to love their brother as themselves. This great throng of people is coming to the Lord and He makes it clear it their responsibility is to provide for this group. So the need is clear. Now the question is how will that need be met. The Lord turns to his analytical disciple to figure out what is needed. To solve the problem the Lord has presented him, Philip would have to calculate the number of people in the crowd, determine what to serve them to eat, determine the cost of the food, select a place to buy it and eventually determine how to get the food to the site. Philip looks at the multitude and looks at the money the band of disciples has and he knows there is no need to go no further in his assessment. “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” Two hundred denarii would be 200 days wages for a common laborer and even if each denarii bought food for ten meals Philip knows that was no where near the resources needed to feed this multitude one meal each.
He said this to test him Here we come to a great insight God wants us to teach us. When God works in a situation He teaches different lessons to different people simultaneously. In the feeding of the 5,000 the Lord has a lesson to teach Philip. Like all of us, they struggled with how to live the life of faith. When faced with a problem, we want to solve it in our own strength with our own resources. If the disciples had the funds and resources they would feel good that they had fed this great multitude but that is not the lesson they need to learn. The Lord knows that they need to learn to trust Him in every situation they face. So He allows them to face a situation that is hopeless. This is God’s lesson and it is one of the miracles the Lord wants to perform here. Teaching each of us humility and reliance on Him is important to live by faith.
What can we learn? One way God strengthens our faith is by placing into our lives situations for which we have no solutions or resources – ones we cannot solve in our own strength. This is a way God teaches us to trust Him but it also teaches us humility – that we are truly dependent on God alone for success. Why does God allow that? Because our pride tempts us to believe that we do not need God for everything – that there are a lot of things we can do on our own. Situations that are insurmountable cause us to remember who God is and how we do need him to live the life of faith. They teach us to wait on God’s timing to act, they teach us to trust God’s way out and they teach us to trust God’s character – He loves us and works all things together for our good. That is what God wants to accomplish through these tests – to increase our faith in Him. “The just shall LIVE by faith.”