Miracles in the Process
2 Kings 4: 1-7
1The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.
4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
What I like about this story, or at least what spoke to me, was the process. Here’s how I saw the story unfold. The widow went to Elisha and asked for help. He told her what to do – get as many jars as possible, close the door, fill the jars up until you have no jars left. The widow did it. Then she went back and asked “Okay, now what?” (My interpretation). Elisha told her to sell the jars, pay off the debts, and live off the rest of the profits.
How many of us need a miracle from God in one way or another? We all do.
So what’s the process? Answer: Go to God, and ask Him what to do first.
What’s the first step? Good question.
How much of a solution did “Go get all the jars you can, close the door and then fill the jars up with oil.” sound like to the widow in that moment? We have the benefit of reading the story objectively. We can see the cause and effect. We know how the story ends. But in that moment, the widow did not know how or what the purpose of all the jars were for. She only had one jar of oil, how was she supposed to fill up all the other jars? And what would a bunch of jars full of oil matter to her? How would that help? She didn’t necessarily see how filling a bunch of jars she didn’t have with oil she didn’t have would help save her sons and cancel her debts. She was acting on faith.
Her husband was a prophet, so she was likely familiar with hearing about the acts of God. She had the faith for a miracle. She also knew Elisha was a powerful man of God because her prophet husband served under him. So she had faith and a belief that this was worth doing. She took the first step – get the jars. Then she filled the jars with oil. That was a miracle in the moment. Then she had to go and ask Elisha what to do next. “I have the jars of oil filled, I’ve witnessed the miracle, now what?” (My interpretation). Elisha told her to sell the jars of oil to pay off her debts and then to live off the rest of the profits.
God was speaking to the widow through Elisha. Elisha didn’t release the answer all at once. It was done in steps. I think too often we get frustrated with God because we’re not where we want to be. When in reality God has given us the first step and He will release the next one when we take the time to complete the first one.
Yes, God is a god of miracles, but He isn’t a God of skipping the steps and the process. He’s a God of favor and grace and preparation. He will prepare you and position you and there will be accelerated favor, but the miracles come through the process. The miracle is in the process.
I want to encourage you to step in faith and take the first step. Where do you hear God speaking to you and giving you the inkling of a first step in that direction? Take that step, and begin to see the miracles happen. For me, that looked liked buying a plane ticket to Brazil and filming in the Amazon Jungle for two weeks. Then the next step was editing the footage. Then I had a 90 minute documentary about my missionary friend who plants churches in the Amazon jungle. Then there was a movie premiere. It was a miracle in the making. A miracle in the process.
I bless you with miracles in the process! And if you have one you want to share, I’d love to hear it in the comments below.