If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you . . .

If you have children, you know that for some reason they don’t always learn what you’re trying to teach them the first time. And maybe not the second time either.

As much as I’d like to believe that we grow out of that, I’m not sure we do.

Take the apostles, for instance. Do you remember when Jesus fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish? The disciples were quite impressed.

That was in Mark 6.

Now read the first paragraph of Mark 8:

In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha (Mark 8:1-10).

So Jesus had already miraculously fed a big crowd once in front of the disciples, and here they’re faced with a similar situation.

Huge crowd, mealtime, not much food.

Surely one of the disciples will remember the last time and say something like, “Well, this won’t be any problem for Jesus. You guys remember what He did a couple weeks back, right?”

Not exactly.

Instead, one of them asked, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”

In other words, What in the world are we going to do?

My initial response to this is, How in the world could they be so slow-witted?

But then the Lord reminds me that I’m just like them.

Are you?

I’ve seen the Lord bail me out of innumerable difficulties, but I’ll wring my hands in despair the next time I face another one.

He’s always provided for my needs, but I still struggle with uncertainty about the future.

Intellectually, I know He orchestrates my life according to what’s best, but I still worry.

Why is that?

As it turns out, I need Jesus to remind me again and again that He’s still the Lord, and He’s still in control. I need to be convinced—almost daily, it seems—that God is sovereign and omnipotent and compassionate.

The next time you say to your kids, “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times!”, pause for a minute and remind yourself that that’s exactly what the Lord has to do with us.

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