As I said in my last post, I hate crowds. I think most of us do, actually. Sometimes there is an excitement to being in a crowd; like the 4th of July fireworks, or some really special event like that, but for the most part, I'd just as soon have my own little family or group of friends around me than to be out in the muddled masses.
I remember one Labor Day weekend when a friend and I went to Cincinnati to their River Fest. I believe the estimate was that there 1/2 a million people on each sides of the Ohio River. I was so claustrophobic I was almost sick and could not enjoy the event at all. Especially as I began to think about what if...what if there's a panic and a stampede? What if somebody loses it and pulls out a gun.... You know what I mean?
But, today as I read the scriptures, Luke Chapter 9, to be exact, the Lord showed me again just how longsuffering He really is.
In this Chapter, Jesus has given all power and authority to the 12 over all demons and diseases and He sent them out to preach the gospel and heal people. When the 12 return, they are, without a doubt, excited to tell Him all they accomplished in His name. So He takes them aside to a deserted place in Bethsaida so they can chat, but the "multitudes" find out where they are and crash the party. Verse 11 says that: "...He received them and spoke unto them and healed them that had need of healing." It must have lasted all day long because verse 12 says: "And when the day began to wear away..." The disciples had been on the road well, "everywhere" is what it says in verse 6, so you can well imagine that they been gone for many days and without much rest, most probably, and here again they are surrounded by people, pushing and shoving and they're getting hungry and they just want to send them home. Get rid of 'em for a while, everyone can get a meal, a hot bath and a good night's sleep, right? That's what I would have been saying, too. I know myself.
I guess they forgot what the terms and conditions for signing on with the Lord were. The Lord Jesus tells them to get them something to eat; feed them, minister to them, and if the disciples were tired, just imagine what Jesus was...supernatural though He was, empowered as He was by the Holy Spirit; He was a man, a man who really didn't have a home, a bed, a place to lay His head as He put it, but He never let the people down. He taught them, He healed them, He loved them, and ministered to them, day and night for 3.5 years. What a man! What a Savior! What a God! Who is like you, oh Lord? What patience, what endurance, what tolerance, what love!
I pray that the Lord will change my heart and make my heart more like His; more patient, more kind, more willing to go that extra mile and give up that extra cloak and feed people who need fed. I pray, too, that the Lord will work through me and heal people. I think that the day is coming soon when we'll see His power being released through His followers again. Lord, I pray that I'm found worthy to be used of you like that. Thank you, Jesus, for who you are and what you were able to do everyday, without fail...not condemning, not judging -- just teaching about God's ways, loving, healing, feeding, inspiring and changing peoples' lives - just like you're still doing today. May your name be glorified as it deserves today. Amen.