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  • Sarah Raad

Grateful

“We may ignore, but we can in no way evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.” (C.S. Lewis).

The Miracle of the Loaves and FIshes (Jacopo Tintoretto)

My husband very rarely leaves any food on his plate. He usually eats all his meal without leaving anything behind. He does not do this because he is greedy – he is not a greedy man. And he does not do this because he is particularly hungry – he is not always very hungry when he sits to eat a meal. And he does not do this because he has nothing else to do – my husband has plenty to occupy his time with. My husband does this because he is GRATEFUL!


You see, while there have been times in my life when I have felt a little hungry, I – like most Australians – have rarely felt the effects of ongoing and profound hunger, and I have rarely worried about where my next meal will come from. The worst I have experienced is the rationing and food shortages over the last few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and even despite these shortages, most Australians still managed to GAIN weight during lockdown… So, I have to wonder, how terrible were those food shortages that we were all complaining about after all?


But my husband grew up in a different world. During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, my husband lived in Lebanon during the civil war. Food was rationed, schools were closed and families lived in bomb shelters on a few expired cans of beans and a loaf of bread and no electricity, gas or fresh water for weeks at a time – afraid for their lives. And the result of that is that experience is that my husband eats all the food on his plate – because he is grateful for the opportunity to eat food at all – having grown up with such scarcity for so long…


And I have been reflecting on my husband’s experience of hunger and the experience of the disciples who travelled with Christ. You see, many times during their travels the disciples were hungry. Perhaps as their stomachs rumbled, they thought to themselves, “How come we are hungry now that we follow Him, when we never knew hunger before?” I imagine that complaint because it is certainly something that I would be thinking to myself – and it is certainly something that I think even now…


But Christ spoke to them and He answered those doubts…

“Jesus said to them, ‘Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ They said to Him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ And they said to Him, ‘Seven.’ And He said to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’” (Mark 8:14-21).

And that question of Christ repeats itself over and again inside my mind like an echo, “Do you not yet understand?” (Mark 8:21). And I feel the question so strongly that it seems to leap off the page and fill my soul…


For my entire life is a miracle and I witness miracles around me every single day. For just as Christ performed miracles for people twenty centuries ago, using a few bits of bread and a few bits of fish, so too does He perform miracles for me. And just as Christ performed these miracles so that the people would not go hungry twenty centuries ago, so too does He perform such miracles for me today. And just as Christ knew the disciples were hungry before they spoke to Him about it, so too does He know my hunger, and knowing it, so too does He perform miracles to feed me…


You see, the Christian writer, C.S. Lewis wrote, “We may ignore, but we can in no way evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.”


And there He is – everywhere – incognito, performing miracles, while I complain to others that I am hungry…


Where is my gratitude? Am I not grateful?


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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