Gospel News â Mar-May 2012
One of the world's biggest refugee camps close to Kenya's Border with Somalia, designed for 90,000 refugees,now shelters over 270,000
Resettlement of Refugee Brethren
Faith Necessary for the Exercise of Compassion
Sis Ether Worrell (Canada)
The examples of compassion cited in an earlier issue reveal the quality of faith in God that made it possible to exercise this, at times, a challenging act, when we are faced with overwhelming obstacles. Clearly this was the case of Jesus feeding the multitude of five thousand men beside women and children with only five loaves and two fish. Looking at this large number of people and the food he had, plus the insufficiency of manpower as he and the disciples were out-numbered for this task, and also at evening when darkness would soon descend on them, the entire situation was just impossible. Speaking for myself, despite my feelings of compassion for them, I would not have attempted the task of feeding them under these circumstances, and would have decided, like the disciples, to send them away. Did Jesus not see the problem too when he was handed the meager provision? Let us not forget that he experienced the same fears that we do, even though he was the Son of God, Heb 4: 15 "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." The difference is that he did not allow this human weakness to take pre-eminence over God's power and supremacy. This weakness had to be defeated by his faith in the power of God, especially when it ran counter to his nature. Again it involved the simple act of looking up to heaven â no intense exploration and investigation for God's location -His father
was nearby. No instructions from an automated voice machine to press buttons for connection â he had direct access.
As for the feeding of this vast multitude, no complicated office procedures involving intercom or loud-speaker system, but simply directing his disciples, guided by his Father to whom he appealed, for the effective operation. Jesus worked with what means he had in both the food and personnel, and God blessed his efforts to the extent that there remained twelve baskets of fragments.
We could at this point reflect on the simplicity of doing things God's way compared to man's problematic and stress-producing systems. Yes, I agree that this is easier written than done. However, if we consider the paralyzing inaction resulting from our fears, we would see that an attempt to begin some sort of action, looking up to heaven, would be more productive, supported by the Most High God of Heaven and Earth. I am reminded here of Jochebed who, rather than succumbing to the paralysis of fear and hopelessness of the other mothers, resulting in the drowning their male babies, took proactive steps to use what she had with faith to save the life of her baby son. God blessed her effort by taking over and accomplishing His purpose with the child.
Hebrews 11, the chapter on faith verse 6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him". Unless we align ourselves with God in total belief â faith - we will not be able to carry out what he desires of us. And what He requires of us is to love Him in this absolute way and in so doing to love our neighbour as ourselves, the expression of compassion.