And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” (Mt 15:33)
But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’ Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?” And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord's hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.” (Nu 11:21-23)
My friend Roger has recently written a post on the subject of giving in faith in the midst of financial difficulties, which I strongly recommend. I don't have much to add to his post, other than my own reflections on the subject from the two scriptures quoted above.
When we have a natural need our natural response is to look for a natural means to meet that need. There is nothing wrong with this... unless of course we try to squeeze God into the same box!
Faith understands. It understands that God is not limited by the natural means of meeting a need that we can perceive with our own observation or understanding. If we don't know how God is going to do something that doesn't mean God can't do it. In fact God delights to work that way, because that's the realm where faith has to operate.
It doesn't take much faith to trust God for a need that can be met by our pay packet that is coming through at the end of the week - even though we acknowledge that God is the source of all our regular income just as much as any miraculous provision. But when we are in a desolate place in need of bread - that is where our faith must kick in. That is where it is truly revealed whether we really believe what we say about the nature of God's faithfulness. It is where the source of our reliance is unveiled - our own ability to provide - or the Lord's mighty arm.
When we need bread in the desolate place the correct response is not to make a decision based on the little we have in our hands, but to respond in faith and obedience to whatever God tells us to do.