Be ready for a miracle
There's an old French proverb that says, "Miracles happen to those who believe."
Some of my earliest lessons on believing God for miracles began when I was just starting out as a Bible College student.
I had been in North Dakota visiting with my mother for Christmas when I boarded a bus headed out to California.
I made a stop in Missouri to visit some dear friends, and I spent a few days with them catching up. And from there I was headed to the West Coast to attend my first year of ministerial training at Pacific Christian College in Fullerton, California.
I arrived in Missouri with just the clothes on my back, a small suitcase, a bus ticket and $43.
I had a wonderful visit that week. Those friends were instrumental in guiding me and encouraging me when I was a new Christian living in Tucson, Arizona.
They were members of the church I was going to, but they moved back to their home state of Missouri. So I wanted to see them before I embarked on the next leg of my spiritual journey.
The night before I was to board the bus, we attended a church service where a missionary spoke about the Christian radio station he was starting in Mexico.
The missionary said that there was a box set up on a table by the front door of the church, and if anyone felt led to give towards this mission's project they could put their offering in that box as they left the church that night.
God started stirring my heart, and He was prompting me to give all of my money to help with this missionary's ministry.
I tried to argue with the Lord, reminding Him that the money I had I needed for my trip from Missouri to California.
Reminding the Lord that, I too, was a missionary of sorts headed off to Bible College, I told Him that I needed that money.
That didn't work!
Arguing with God never does.
God kept telling me to give the last $43 to my name.
"Just trust Me," He said.
I don't think I heard anything else that was said or done in the rest of the service that night, because I was dealing with the Lord's prompting.
But, on my way out of the church that night, I told the Lord that I would trust Him to take care of me, and I dropped that $43 in the offering box.
That was more than 40 years ago, and I can still see that box there on that side table in the foyer of that church just as if it happened yesterday.
I hadn't told my friends about my offering that night, and I hadn't told them that I only had $43 to my name.
That night I tossed and turned in my bed, praying and talking to the Lord, and wondering if I had done the right thing.
The next morning, my friends gave me a ride to the bus depot.
As I shook everyone's hands and hugged their necks, the mother handed me a bag of sandwiches and cookies for the trip. Then the father slipped something into my hand as he shook it.
I stuck whatever it was into my pocket, and then I waved goodbye and boarded the bus.
Later in the day, I remembered that I had stuck something in my pocket that morning during the excitement and anxiety of heading off to Bible College.
I forgot about what was in my pocket until that moment, so I dug it out, and unrolled this wad of cash. It was several hundred dollars.
As I stared at that money, I began to count it over and over again; and I was crying and thanking the Lord for this lesson on faith.
Over the years, since that time, I have learned that our faith is increased as we witness the miraculous provision of the Lord.
We see in the New Testament, in John 6, that it happened with Jesus' disciples as they witnessed Jesus feeding 5,000 people with a boy's lunch of five barley loaves and two small fish.
We see in the Old Testament, in 1 Kings 17, that it happened with the widow woman in the town of Zaraphath when she shared the last of her food supplies with the prophet Elijah. Her flour and oil never ran out during the drought that they were in.
And it happened with me on my way to Bible College; and it has happened hundreds of times since.
I am a witness, time and time again, to the miracles of God.
It's so easy for us to focus on the money, or the bread and fishes, or the flour and oil, or the lack thereof; and then we lose sight of the Lord.
In the Book of Genesis, He is called "Jehovah Jireh," which is translated, "God has seen" or "God is our Provider."
We all need to trust God to meet our needs.
No matter what we are going through, or what we are lacking, we can trust God to take care of us.
That old French saying, "Miracles happen to those who believe," is so true.
It is a sentiment that is gleaned from many of God's promises in the Bible.
In Philippians 4:19, the Apostle Paul wrote, "And my Godshall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Jesus is quoted in John 16:23-24, saying,"Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."
Remember, "Miracles happen to those who believe," for God is our provider.
--Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Cannon UMC. He is a columnist for the Times-Gazette. Doug is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.