The Gospel of Matthew shares that after Jesus had been fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. “And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread’ (4:3).” Though this interaction seems like a strange way for these two historical figures to bump into one another, the reality is that Satan was already fully aware of who Jesus was and that the Son of God had the power to not only turn those rocks into bread, but to transform the entire rocky hillside into a booming bakery. This moment was about more than bread.
The “tempter” or Satan, is well aware of who I am…and you, too. He’s not seated on my right or left shoulder, in an outlandish costume, trying to trip me up. But make no mistake, he is present and looking for any opportunity to have me turn whatever stones are available into my sustenance for the short term. What are the “stones” around me that I am talking about? It’s anything I seek to fill the needs in my life, in place of God’s best. At times, for me, it’s evident when I attempt to manipulate a situation, so that I get the desired response at the desired time – no need for patience or concern that things wouldn’t go my way; I make sure that it does. Bam! Stones turned into bread. Other times, when there are genuine needs in my life, rather than praying and allowing God to meet those needs, I worry, question, and even attempt to provide for myself, for fear that God (you know, the One who I said would provide) needs a little assistance, because He has obviously overlooked my request. And for obvious reasons, enjoying what my impatience has produced, rather than waiting on God to meet my needs, tastes a lot more like stones than bread.
When Jesus responded to Satan, He let it be known both to the “tempter” and all of mankind, that there is nothing that can fully satisfy but the very words of God (4:4). Those words are found in the Scriptures and heard in the surrendered silence of a heart that has a relationship with the Son of God. And Jesus understands that you and I have less than finer moments., when our humanity overwhelms us and we doubt that He’s taking care of our needs. The Bible tells us that He understands our humanity – He became one of us, and yet did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus was hungry! It actually says that! But, like I shared, this was more than about what He would be having for dinner. It was about who He looked to to provide for His needs.
Much of my confidence, my rejoicing, my hope, my agreeableness, my efforts to stand firm, my attempts to guard my heart and mind – much of it is in something other than Christ. I agree in things going my way. I rejoice in my health. I am confident in my proven ability to ride a bike without tipping, mostly. I hope in the strength of the local economy. I guard my heart and mind in the maintenance of carefully delineated boundaries. And to the extent to which any of these things rests in something other than Christ is the extent to which they are rickety.
Mark Buchanan, “Spiritual Rhythms”
You and I have more than enough proof that God meets our deepest needs in ways that we could never accomplish. He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35), able to do in us and for us, “exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ask or think, according to the power that works within us!” (Ephesians 3:20). God’s not asked you and me to figure it out. That statement alone is worth a confetti drop! He delights in providing for you and me…just enough, just at the right time. And that’s pretty incredible!