In John 6 we have the recording of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Jesus, seeing the large crowd, took the opportunity to test Philip…
Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.
That’s a lot of pressure to just suddenly put on Philip. Likely he hadn’t been told to prepare for this situation, and he didn’t exactly have the resource on hand to feed all these people… at least not in the way he was looking at things. But we don’t read about Philip flipping out or getting angry. Philip simply answers,
“Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Philip was obviously a little bit worked up. But he didn’t go into a self pity mode and talk about how life is to hard, or how God should make things easier on him. He just states the situation.
I’m reminded of James 1:2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
I think Philip could have done better with his attitude, but I also think that the average follower of Christ can do better. We get so bent out of shape over the difficulties in life, and complain about it to anyone who will listen. But God allows us to go through those things in a way that builds us up eternally.
I pray we all would consider it pure joy when we face trials, when we are called to the difficult tasks. Certainly, loving others is something that can be… “trying”. It sometimes requires that we die to our selves in order to love them. But Jesus died for us. It’s ok if we have to die too.
Instead of complaining about having to love people and about God’s “difficult” love for us, may we remember that love is a good thing…