FAITH AND MIRACLES:
A MUSTARD SEED AND AN EMPTY FRIDGE
Koinonia House Newsletter
Sheri Munson gazed into her refrigerator. She saw a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda, a bottle of ancient mustard, and some very old packets of soy sauce. The barren cupboards held a can of pumpkin and the last remnants a 20-pound bag of rice. That was basically it. Sheri had five children to feed. As Sheri stared into her empty cupboards, she said, "Okay Lord. I'm going to trust you. You've brought me this far. I can't believe you're going to let me fall off a cliff now. You said you would be my husband. Please provide for us..."
There are times in our lives when we need miracles to take place. Even among Christians, though, there's often a sense that God is no longer in the miracle business. Many people complain that God doesn't answer prayers. At least, if He answers, He says, "No," a lot. If God is not a liar and He loves us, then, why doesn't He answer our prayers? What are we doing wrong? Do we just not have enough faith?
First of all, God does answer prayers. He answers prayers all the time. Sometimes He doesn't do exactly what we want Him to do in our timing. He does things His way in His timing. But, we also make some errors in the way we pray, and we need to understand those errors so that we can pray in the kind of faith that God honors.
Mistake #2 - Putting Faith in Faith:
We often make the mistake of putting faith in faith itself. Our faith isn't supposed to be in how great our faith is. Our faith isn't in us, it's in God.
In Matthew 17:20, Jesus said, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
A mustard seed is small, the smallest of seeds. The point is, our faith doesn't have to be huge. It just has to be. We need to stop being afraid and doubting, thinking our faith is too small. We need to trust our God that He can take our small faith offering, and He can work with it.
Example - Filling A Fridge:
Sheri Munson stared into her empty refrigerator in Rathdrum, Idaho that autumn afternoon in 1997 and told the Lord simply, "I trust You." That was it. That was her great display of faith.
Regardless of the magnitude of Sheri's faith, God moved.
"I had to pick up my son Tyler from the bus station in Spokane," Sheri told us. Tyler was 17 and a big eater, and there was no food in the house for the four kids already at home. What's more, Sheri had no money for gas to drive to get Tyler.
"So, I asked my 9-year-old, Max, for the four dollars he had. He said, 'Mom! I wanted to buy jerky with that four dollars!' I said, 'Max, I have to have gas. We'll buy jerky with one dollar, and with three dollars I can get enough gas to get to the bus station.'" So, Max sacrificed his three bucks.
Just before she left to get Tyler, Sheri's friend Kathy Spackman called and invited Sheri and the kids to come to a barbeque – and not a barbeque in three weeks, a barbeque that evening. "Can I bring something?" Sheri asked, (having nothing to bring but a bowl of rice). "No," Kathy said. "Just come!" That was a relief. At least Tyler would have something to eat when he got in!
Then, they lost the three dollars. When Sheri and Max got to the gas station, the money set aside for gas was missing. They looked all over the car for it. "Finally, we just went in to get Max's one dollar's worth of jerky," Sheri sad. That was it. They had nothing left. Sheri didn't want to think about how they were going to go pick up Tyler.
When they came out, though, twenty dollars had appeared on the front seat. "I started crying," Sheri said. "Max said, 'Mom. It's okay. Don't cry. It's a miracle. Let's buy gas!'" So, they put ten dollars into the gas tank. Off they headed to get Tyler and go to the barbeque.
Tyler ate at Kathy Spackman's gathering as only a growing young man can. It was the only meal Sheri had to offer her son. After the meal, though, Kathy approached Sheri and asked her to PLEASE take some of the leftovers home with her. There was so much food, Kathy told Sheri, and the food would just go to waste if she and the boys didn't take it. "There were steaks!" Sheri told us, "And chicken and salads and potatoes and corn on the cob. There was so much food! They just loaded my car up."
On top of the leftover food, a man at the barbeque had a truck full of bread from the bread store. Normally he got the old bread to feed to his pigs, but the store had just gotten a truckload of fresh bread in and had taken perfectly good bread off the shelves to give to him. He asked Sheri if she wanted any. Sheri told us, "So, then we got bread and doughnuts and little wheat rolls and pastries – all kinds of bread – and put them in the car too."
"Wow Mom," Max said. "God is sure a good shopper with just three bucks!"
"Then we got home," Sheri said, "and there was a ham the kids' father had sent us. And somebody had left us a box of oranges and a box of apples. I still don't know who left the apples and the oranges. And a voice whispered in my heart, 'See, I can take care of you.'"
That wasn't the end of it. The next day, Sheri's friend Cheryl called and said, "Hey, Sheri. We had a moving sale, and I have all this food I couldn't sell that I don't want to move it to the new house. Would you like some of it?" It turned out that Cheryl had an extensive pantry. "There was peanut butter and packages of oatmeal and canned food and dried food and, there was just so much!" Sheri exclaimed.
"The best part of it," Sheri told us, "Was when Tyler said, 'You know, Mom. You're poor, but whenever I come to see you, I always eat really well!'"
On Saturday, Sheri had simply told the Lord, "I trust You," while facing an empty refrigerator and empty cupboards and kids to feed. By Sunday, her cupboards were full, her refrigerator was full and her freezer was full. Her faith wasn't in how good she was or in how much faith she had. She just trusted God not to drop her. She hadn't told people she needed help, but God knew, and God provided for her - pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing.
When we come to God, we must approach Him in Truth, trusting Him and trusting His character. We need to put our faith in His goodness and not our own. That's the beginning of the kind of faith that can move mountains, or fill refrigerators.
Our series on faith will continue next week with, "Where We Put Our Faith Part III:Even Our Hairs - Hamster Time"
Faith and Miracles Part I: Faith In What? »- Koinonia House
Sara Groves - He's Always Been Faithful
It's good to remember we serve a faithful God, especially during difficult economic times. He is a faithful God and will remain so.
Because of the LORD's great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself,
The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.