Have you ever experienced a miracle? Would you believe it if you did? Do you even believe in miracles? Maybe you call it a coincidence, but we all have miracles in our lives. It’s just a matter of recognizing them. I believe miracles are God’s way of showing us He cares, and that He’s watching over us. If you will notice, miracles require us to need something. We are struggling with some aspect of our lives. We are either praying for ourselves or someone else to recover, overcome, or succeed in some endeavor. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are times I need a miracle and I don’t get one. God doesn’t always reveal to us why.
Miracles don’t happen when everything is going smooth. I realized this while listening to a podcast this week by April Perry (LearnDoBecome.com) She shared a story from the Old Testament of a widow who during a drought had gotten down to her last meal. The Prophet Elijah came to her hungry and thirsty. He requested water and bread. The widow gave him a cup of water, but had to admit she only had enough flour and oil to make bread for her and her son’s last meal. Then they would wait to die—starve.
Elijah told her not to be afraid. He told her to first make a small loaf of bread for him, and then make something for herself and her son. Then he added: “For this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an extremely bold request from Elijah. That widow had to trust him to speak the truth of God, and then have faith God would provide for her and her son. The widow must have had a heart for God and discerned this was a possible miracle for, unselfishly, she baked a bread cake for Elijah first. She then went back into the kitchen, and to her surprise was able to make another loaf for her son and herself. She continued to have enough oil and flour to support them until the Lord sent rain. Just as Elijah said, it did not run out. (I Kings 17:10-16)
It was a depressing time in my life. I had been laid off work and we only had one income. Living from payday to payday, again. This wasn’t my first rodeo. Do you know what I mean? We had encountered several financial setbacks, and my pantry and fridge were bare again. I felt like that widow. But I had been here before, and knew God would provide.
Like the time we lived in Galveston and a bunch of teenagers stayed the week on our living room floor. We had been fishing and crabbing to put meat on the table, and not always with much luck. One morning, I tiptoed through the bodies, pillows, and blankets strewn on the living room floor to get to the kitchen where I found a sink full of crabs and fish iced down. Those kids had been fishing all night. We made enough gumbo and fried fish to last until payday. What a miracle that was.
Another time, when my kids were little and we were down to a can of creamed style corn, flour, peanut butter and syrup, I made what we called Indian bread. Mixing it all together and frying it into pan cakes, then smearing them with peanut butter and syrup. We’d had it before multiple times, but then it was a treat. This time, it was all we had left as we struggled to wait until payday again. This was on a Sunday after church, and my brother-in-law came to visit for the afternoon. He had a cup of coffee and left. He came back later with bags of groceries including formula for the baby. I believe God sent him to us that day.
But this day I had felt beat down. More so than the times before. I knew like the widow that we would be ok, but I mean at my age, why were we fighting this battle again? My hope and frustrations overwhelmed me. Needing a refreshing word, I went to a women’s Bible study. After the study, the women planned a meal for a family in need, and too proud to admit I was also in need, I agreed to bring potato salad. It was the one thing I knew I had the ingredients for without having to go to the store.
When I got home, I gathered eggs from the hen house and set them and some potatoes to boil. I made a double portion as well as a pot of pinto beans and cornbread for my family’s dinner. I pulled and washed green onions from our garden, and once the potatoes and eggs were cooled and peeled, I set out the condiments. When I reached for the large jar of pickles in the back of the refrigerator, I realized it only had juice. I stirred, and looked, and stirred again. No pickles.
I sank to the floor in front of the refrigerator with that jar in my arms, and cried. It wasn’t really the pickles or even my pride of not being able to make the potato salad. It was like the last straw that broke the camel’s back. I just couldn’t bear anymore. The burden of life seemed so heavy. After a good cleansing cry, I prayed and as usual, found God’s peace. I sniffed and stood, set the jar of juice on the counter and revised my plan. The green onion would give the potato salad color and the pickle juice would provide the needed bit of flavor.
I chopped the eggs, onions and potatoes, added mayonnaise and mustard, and with another sniff and a sigh, I dipped a tablespoon into the pickle juice. The spoon met with something solid. I looked inside the wide mouth jar and didn’t see anything but cloudy juice. Slanting the gallon jar, I leaned over to see what I was hitting, and was shocked to see a pickle floating around on the bottom.
What? I knew I had looked good the first time and there were no pickles. I was sure. Wasn’t I? Yes, I was sure. Very sure. God produced that pickle from my tears and prayers, and no one can tell me any different. I didn’t really need it for the potato salad. My plan would have worked well enough, but I needed that pickle to remind me God cares. He’s always watching out. Even for the smallest things.
Do you have miracles in your life you are chalking up to coincidences? Take another look. You may be overlooking a miracle. When times are tough, Miracles happen. Next time your life seems too heavy to bear, have a good cry and look for the miracle. Expect it. It may be small, seeming coincidental, but God wants to show you He loves you. He’s there watching out for you.
Remember, wherever you are in life, you are at the right place when you visit my website and read my blog. Come on back and share a slice of life with me.