In the history of the people of Israel, the wilderness was a place of testing. During the years when the people wandered in the wilderness, God taught them to trust in him for the necessities of life. When they became desperate for food, they cried out to God and he provided for them. The manna they received nourished their bodies and reminded them to trust in God. (See Exodus 16.)
More than a thousand years later Jesus taught his disciples the same lesson.
In our reading for today, the expressions “quiet place,” “solitary place” and “remote place” can also be translated as “wilderness.” Jesus had just finished teaching a crowd of several thousand people out in the wilderness when a crisis arose. There was a food shortage, and the disciples didn’t know what to do. Jesus told them, “You give them something to eat.” Hearing this, they were dumbfounded. Jesus then took the little they had, gave thanks, and miraculously multiplied it so that everyone had more than enough to eat. In this way Jesus taught the disciples to trust in God for their needs.
All of us experience “wilderness” times in our lives. We need to learn afresh that God has the power to provide all that we need—and more. We simply have to trust him. Crises lead to blessings when they teach us to depend on God.