When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
It’s not like Jesus came to Philip because He needed some advice. He wasn’t looking to Philip to help Him figure out what to do about this situation. He hadn’t gotten stuck and He wasn’t left confounded or confused. Jesus knew what He would do, and He knew what He could do. But Philip didn’t know yet, and this was a powerful lesson for Jesus to teach His disciples.
God doesn’t look to us and want us to be able to figure these things out on our own. He doesn’t expect us to perform a miracle. Instead, He wants us to seek Him as the source of all that we need. He wants us to turn to Him for answers. He wants us to believe in Him—to believe not only in His power, but His love and grace that motivates those displays of power. He wants us to trust that He is able and that He is good, and so He will meet our needs, even in a wilderness and even for a multitude.
When we are faced with challenges, it’s not that we have to figure out everything on our own and bring our solution to the Lord. But we can trust that He already has a plan, because He does. All we have to do is submit to Him and obey in what He says to do. Sometimes our pride can get in the way of that. Sometimes we think we have to be able to figure everything out on our own. We’re not always willing to be totally dependent on God, but that’s exactly what He wants us to do.
Jesus asked this question of Philip to prove Him, to see what he would say and where Philip’s heart and mind were. It was a test of sorts. And sometimes Jesus brings things into our lives for the same reason. He wants to see how we’ll respond. And it reveals to us where our hearts and our minds are. Will we turn to Jesus for the answer or try to figure it out ourselves? Will we trust Jesus to do the impossible, or do we feel like we need to try to make something happen? Jesus has proven Himself to be trustworthy and reliable, so may we just be willing to place those things into His capable hands.