Can you imagine the trust that the disciples must have had to go out into the world, with nothing but what others provided for their needs? Of course, Christ knew that they would be cared for and given the grace to go through whatever was put in their journey... but they had to trust him. And, by all accounts that we are given, they did just that. They passed the test, and they ministered to others, and they came back and they shared all they had done and seen with Jesus. I can not even begin to imagine the different stories that they had to tell, and how they interrupted each other to slip in little details. Maybe some hung back at moments, not wanting to share the moment that touched them most with a crowd, but wanted to simply hold onto it as something precious. Possibly there were some who waited until the general excitement was over and they were in the boat to slip apart and ask Jesus' opinion on something that had happened, with no interruptions so that they could be completely open and honest. There were surely some, like Peter, who just could not stop exclaiming about how wonderful it was when God provided in such-and-such a way, or when this person finally got God's truths. But not matter how it worked out, we know that they were given a taste of how the Lord would provide and work through them, and wanted to share it with Christ. And now, Jesus noticed their need for a quiet supper, and they headed for a desolate place.
But the crowds, followed, and Jesus had compassion on them. They were lost, and they needed a shepherd. And so, he immediately stepped in and taught them "many things". It went on, and nobody wanted to leave- this time of listening to Jesus teach was too precious. So they stayed, getting hungrier and hungrier, but still not hungry enough to abandon the Word of God.
And Jesus had compassion on them again, and told the disciples to feed them.
And the disciples doubted.
"Shall we go and buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?", they asked. Should we go buy bread that would cost 7 months worth of wages to feed these people? Would it be enough? Where would we find that sort of money?
How soon they forgot the trust that they had just learned. Forgot the moments of need that God had given supply for, that they had just been so eager to share.
He doesn't reprove them. 'For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." Psalm 103:14. He could have rebuked them- and does, often. But right now, he simple goes about providing for them again.
"And he said to them, 'How many loaves do you have? Go and see.' And when they had found out, they said, 'Five, and two fish.' Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men."
And once again, the disciples were given a proof of his love, of his care for them, of the utter trust that they could have in their Savior. It wasn't the last they would need. Hours later, Peter would be told to walk across the water, and would do so... until he sunk in doubt of his Maker. But again, the Lord raised him up, proving that His grace was sufficient for him.
And no matter how often we doubt him, how many times we are given a clear sign that he knows all and he knows best, how often we lose trust, he holds us in his hand, as well. He is patient with his children. And we can trust him, even when the way he is going to work in may not be seen by us.
It will be a never ending lesson. But the Lord is patient towards us.