“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.” Deut. 4:2 (NIV)
Magic wands, potions, secrets and formulas! What we would pay to have one of those when life gets tough and we need answers. Where do I go? What do I do? How can I manage?
The market is flooded with self-help books by the zillions both secular and Christian. And a few of them actually provide some good stuff. My boss, Cheryle Touchton, has one for living. She calls her formula “An Ancient Secret.” But she is quick to share the secret is available to everyone. Do you wanna know what it is? Then look up Matthew 22:37-39 or Luke 10:27.
This week I came up with a formula of my own for surviving. We’re in tough times here and will likely be for a while. Some people wonder how they will survive the day, the night, the week or the year. Actually I discovered it while reading my Bible study lesson for Sunday. If you want to shock your Bible study teacher – then read your lesson! Besides, you’ll be surprised what you might learn! Anyway, we are beginning a series of lessons on the Old Testament prophet Elijah by Ray Pritchard (Fire and Rain: The Wild-Hearted Faith of Elijah).
I figured easy sailing on this one, because we ALL know ALL about Elijah. You know, sometimes I am just not as smart as I think I am! What a series of lessons! I have discovered so much more about Elijah, God and me than I ever thought! My favorite thing is for God to show me something in a new fresh way yet I prepare for the same old, same old. Why He continues to put up with me, I do not know.
But during my study I read about a pattern Mr. Pritchard noted and then I made a math formula out of it. Let me preface this a bit. We were only in the first few verses of I Kings 17 in the Old Testament where Elijah confronts evil king Ahab and warns of a drought. Apparently God is unhappy with the state of the union. Wait, I have a feeling of déjà vu.
Then God sends Elijah to hide out while he brings things to pass. (Sidebar: Run and hide is not the formula.) God had a reason for all of this and told Elijah during his vacation, not to worry about food and water – take out was coming to him – by way of ravens. No time to go into all we could here, but let’s simply say for Elijah to hang out in hiding while letting scavenger birds bring him bread and meat for 3 ½ years during a drought is a miracle.
How did the miracle happen? God issued a command, Elijah obeyed and a miracle resulted. Elijah survived. God’s command plus your obedience equals miracle.
Still confused well, I guess God does have numerous commands. (Sidebar: don’t confuse God’s commands with a list of “don’t do’s”. His commands are always to help provide needed guidance and protection in your life.) But in any given situation we can always refer to His commands to read His word, pray, seek His kingdom, be kind to others, and share the Gospel of Jesus.
When we take these commands and add our obedience, it will always equal a miracle. The trick here is to remember miracles come in all shapes and sizes. Elijah’s miracle was his survival. Your miracle may be survival by guidance, survival by healing, survival by peace, survival by comfort or survival by specific answer. And when you share your faith, the survival comes in the form of another person surviving eternally.
I really needed that this week and I am sure others did too. So whatever miracles you may need today – apply the formula and rest in the assurance that when God is in the equation, results are only an equal sign away.