51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves ; their hearts were hardened.
NIV (emphasis added)
The disciples had just passed out five loaves of bread to 5,000 men plus women and children. Each disciple had a complete bag of leftovers when the job was done. Immediately after this, Jesus calms a storm and the disciples were “completely amazed.”
Evidently they should not have been amazed. If you reverse the logic of vs 52 you find that if their hearts had been soft they would have understood something about the loaves and therefore would not have been amazed when Jesus calmed the sea.
There was something they were supposed to understand about the loaves but they missed it. Their hearts were not tender enough to pick up on it. They thought the loaves were about the loaves. They didn’t recognize that God was saying something to them through the loaves.
The text doesn’t tell us what they were supposed to have understood about the loaves. But the passage is clear that if they had understood it, they would not have been amazed. Amazement happens when something occurs outside of our expectations, beyond our grid of understanding and anticipation. If they had understood about the loaves, it would have adjusted their expectations in such a way that Jesus calming the sea would have been expected instead of being a surprise.
Is it possible that God is constantly doing things in our lives and though we’re grateful, we mistakenly think that it was just about the “things”, not realizing that through these things God is revealing something to us about who He is? If we miss it, all we received was the “things”, with maybe a good story and some leftovers for tomorrow, but our view of God hasn’t really shifted. Our expectations haven’t expanded. Our faith hasn’t grown. The way we see reality hasn’t been modified. Our mind hasn’t really been changed.
May we have soft hearts today, not merely receiving what He gives, but hearing what He says in the giving.