It's been an interesting couple of weeks at church. Last weekend we had a special event on called "The Father's Heart" with guest speakers and visitors drawn from a wide area. It gave the usual church experience a heightened edge, a sense of anticipation and expectation - and we weren't disappointed.
After church this Sunday, a friend was telling me how the weekend had been for her. She had volunteered to help with the catering - something she has a particular talent for - and was tasked with feeding the youth team. Numbers would be around nine, she was told, so she bumped up the ingredients to allow for extras. On the day, she told the organiser that the meal was ready whenever they were. "There's enough for fifteen," she finished. She is a discerning lady anyway, but the absolutely aghast expression of the organiser was a bit of a giveaway. "But there are 47 of them!" What?!
A quick decision was made to order pizza. Lots and lots of pizza. Did I mention that our church is in the middle of rural Norfolk and a well-known "not-spot" for mobile signal, never mind pizza delivery? Living here, we need faith just to make a phone call - getting through at all is considered miracle enough. As meal-time approached, and with no sign of pizza, my friend felt God tell her to just start serving. Would it surprise you to hear that 40 people (it turned out the 47 was an exaggeration) ate from the "inadequate rations" and there was some left over? The pizza order never arrived, by the way. I think God cancelled it.
As ever, all this led me to think about writing. How often do we feel our words are as inadequate as the five loaves and two fishes? We sit down to write to a hungry world and feel we have so little that it wouldn't even take the edge of its appetite. But... God is in the miracle game, and his words have incredible power.
Here are a couple of things about God's word that never fail to cheer me up. First, that one single word from God can be enough. Especially when that word is "yes" to something we've been asking for! Second, that no word that comes from His mouth ever fails to achieve its purpose. Let's pray that more and more we may know "the word that sustains the weary" (Isaiah 50:4), no matter how meagre our offering may look.
Janey Clamp is Creative Writer in Residence at BBC Radio Norfolk and on the Premier Radio Thought of the Day team. She is currently on a month's leave so she might actually finish editing her first novel. She leads the ACW small group Brecks, Fens and Pens based in West Norfolk.