When the Music Fades – After the Feeding of the 5,000
The Lord’s feeding of the 5,000 is legendary. The vast sea of faces, the loudness of joyful chatter, and the tangible scent of miraculous provision was an experience to transform everyone involved.
All these have now dimmed, leaving the plain hillside behind. The hillside, once packed with multitudes, bears only the indentation of where they sat on the grass, an imprint of God’s glorious works among them. The last echoes of amazement have disappeared with the setting sun, and the baskets that once overflowed with bread and fish have been emptied. (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:12-17, and John 6:1-14.). And now, the music fades as the sun sets.
For us, while the spiritual highs we feel at events like the Devoted Conference, NewDay, Big Church Day Out, the Hillsong conference, or Keswick are not quite as awesome they do still impact us for months afterwards. Being with God’s people, seeing what He is doing and hearing the stirring messages of God’s grace and majesty set us up for what God has before us. The immediate sensory experience of those monumental gatherings, like the crescendo of a moving song, eventually draws to a close. But does it truly end there?
We know, of course, that every belly that was filled will soon rumble with hunger once more. This physical reality foreshadows a profound spiritual truth found throughout the scriptures. Remember the manna in the wilderness? “Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted” (Exodus 16:21 ESV). Every day, a fresh outpouring. Yet, as the Israelites discovered, yesterday’s provision would not sustain them for today.
Likewise, those who sat and ate that day would soon learn that while the bread and fish filled their stomachs, there remained a deeper hunger, a more profound thirst. It was not enough to encounter Jesus just once. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35 ESV). The miracles and parables heard on that glorious day were just an introduction to a life to be lived in fellowship with Him.
The following day is symbolic for many of us. It’s the ‘morning after’ our mountaintop experiences with God. Whether at the New Frontiers or Baptist conference, Keswick, or the Big Church Day Out, we may have encountered the Lord in a shared moment of worship and a sense of His Presence. But as dawn breaks the next day, the euphoria fades, and the challenges of life come rushing back.
It’s reminiscent of Jeremiah, who lamented in the midst of his sorrows but found solace in a fresh truth every morning: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV).
To us, today, the lesson remains unchanged. While it’s encouraging to gather and experience the communal wonders of God’s miraculous touch at annual ‘big-church’ events, it’s equally vital to walk in daily communion with Him. To find Him in the quiet moments, to seek His face when the music fades, and to trust in His provision for every new day.
In the narrative of the 5,000, the miracles didn’t stop with the loaves and fishes. Soon after, Jesus was walking on water, calling Peter to a faith that transcends the laws of nature (Matthew 14:25-29 ESV). For every spiritual climax, there’s a subsequent calling, a beckoning towards deeper faith, trust, and commitment.
The challenge, then, for the modern believer is to live in this dual reality. To celebrate and cherish the mountaintop moments but to also find Christ in the valley, on the plain fields after the gathering, in the quiet morning after the miraculous feast.
As the echoes of yesterday’s songs from NewDay or Hillsong grow faint, let our hearts be attuned to the symphony of His eternal promises and may our souls find sustenance in the Bread of Life, not just once, but every single day.
A new day is dawning – and our God is there to welcome us there!