This morning I was reflecting on Jesus’ words to the crowds in John 6:
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.”
While the idea of Jesus as the bread of life is certainly deeply devotional, I found myself captured by the second sentence: “you have seen me and yet do not believe.” As I reflected on this phrase I realized there was some bitterness in me – “I haven’t seen Jesus and I believe, so why are things difficult? Shouldn’t I receive a special blessing for having so much faith? If I just could see Jesus, then I am sure I could defeat sin in my life, move beyond the struggles that plague me.”
And then I was brought up short. I remembered Mother Theresa who saw Jesus in every child she held. I was reminded of Jesus’ own words that whatever we do to the least of these, we do to him. In reality, I see Jesus everyday. But I rarely pay attention.
I wonder how many of us grow bitter towards God because he does not make things “easier” for us. I wonder how many of us do not even realize that we have these seeds of pride and frustration, thinking that we know better how to help us grow spiritually than God himself. And meanwhile God is looking at us every day, watching us through the eyes of the poor, the suffering, the broken-hearted, watching us turn the other way.
My prayer for the new year is that we may be people of the Kingdom who do not hear “you have seen me” and descend into bitterness but hear “you have seen me” and recognize it as the blessing it is – the blessing to go and show mercy and love to the least of these.
May grace and peace fill you and flow out of you in this new year!