Everyone seems to enjoy a good story – especially one where a difficult or dangerous situation is turned into a happy ending. The Readers Digest often has exciting stories that show God’s hand in bringing victory from tragedy. They refer to these as “miracle stories.” The Bible is full of such stories. One that I especially like comes from II Kings 4. It is the story of a woman whose husband has died, and she is unable to support herself and her two sons. She is in debt as well. She fears that she may have to sell her sons into servitude. She seeks out the Prophet Elisha and relates her situation to him. He asks her what is in her house at the present time, and she replies that she only has a small jar of oil. Elisha consults the Lord and receives a word from him that she should go to all her neighbors and ask for as many empty jars as they can give her, and then take them into her house and begin filling them with oil from the one small jar she has. It sounds crazy and hard to believe, but she does as the prophet said, acting on faith alone that the prophet had heard from the Lord. Well, she begins filling the first jar, and then the next, and still the original oil is undiminished. The miracle continued until every jar was filled. Then, as the prophet had said, she was able to sell the jars of oil, pay off her debts, and have enough money to live on for the future. And like any good story, they lived happily ever after.
Besides being a very uplifting story, there is a take-away that I would point out to you. In this story, as in many miracle stories, there was a human part that needed to be played before a miracle could actually happen. Often this may be a prayer requirement. We all know the words of Jesus when he said, “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” But sometimes, even after praying, there is a required act of faith – sometimes even something that seems illogical. But if we will do our required part, we allow God to do his. As always, God will never do our part, and we can never do God’s. That is what makes it a miracle.
Pastor Joe Boeringa is pastor at Vineland Native American Chapel.