We have automated systems, seamless software solutions, "Easy" buttons, quick-fix formulas, and soon we will have drive-thru surgical centers. But, it doesn't take long to realize that there is no "magic button" to push that elbows God into action. He already is in action, preparing us for a miracle—a call from the server in the sky.
There is always mystery embedded in His miracle adventures. Those who have never encountered the God of light, live in the shadow. They see just enough light around them to judge and condemn, but not enough to experience the miracle.
Remember these words from Paul?
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ (Colossians 2:6-8 NIV).
We live with too many shadow captives, people trapped in forms and rituals. For them faith is a concept, a truth, a subject to debate, a tradition. Those in the shadow of faith are held captive by habitual status quo. In many ways, they are dead people walking.
Regardless of how often His name is called, God doesn't get elbowed into action. God's got His own calendar, His own agenda, His own To Do list. The good news is that he wants us to be part of His calendar and He has already set up more than one appointment with each of us. Can you remember the times thus far? Are you ready for the next whack up the side of the head?
He wants us out of the shadows, living the miracle. Leave church each Sunday expecting to be whacked by a miracle.
We graduated from high school the same year, less than 60 miles apart, but we never crossed paths. Her name is Kathy and for the last 17 years she has blessed the lives of hundreds of homeless and hungry Mongolian children. God called and she answered on the third ring.
You could see Jesus in her eyes and you could feel the Spirit in her story. I only had to ask one question. "Kathy, what led you to Mongolia?"
"Three miracles!" she quipped.
In 1992 Kathy was living in LA, in the shadows, marking time till God was ready to call her into action. She was a Christian, but a little bored with it all. Secretly she was tired of feeling trapped inside the walls of church. Down deep, she longed for something bigger than church attendance.
The first thought of Mongolia came from a mission card she picked up at a church ministry meeting. The card said, "No churches in Mongolia." Her fleeting thought, "Is God calling me to go?" A few days later, she was in a gathering of believers and a friend said, Kathy, let me introduce you to this man. He is an American missionary to Mongolia.
"Poof! There it was the first miracle," Kathy said.
Kathy heard the call: she was going to Mongolia. But, she had no money, no backing, and no language skills. A friend suggested she contact the English Language Institute (ELI). They accepted her, but she would have to raise $11,000 in just a few months. They suggested Kathy write letters to friends asking for donations. So, she wrote personal letters to everyone she could think of, young and old, rich and poor.
"Poof, in just a few weeks I had exactly $11,000."
Her departure for Mongolia was now less than two months away, and Kathy didn't have her passport or work visa and other travel documents needed for the eleven-month commitment. The whole trip was on the bubble.
Once Kathy had all the forms filled out, she mailed the original documents and waited. Two weeks later she was told the papers were lost in the mail. She was frantic. For weeks she followed every lead she could to get this glitch cleared, but nothing was working.
God was! "I was talking to a congressman on the phone, telling him what had happened when the postman dropped a big envelope in my mail box."
All alone, Kathy worked with ELI for two years then she stayed in Mongolia, in the town of Ulaan Baater, located in the northern part of the country. Ulan Bator is the coldest capital city in the world. It's the cultural and business center of Mongolia and a hub connecting the Trans-Siberian Railway with the Chinese rail system.
She feeds the hungry, rescues the sick, teaches the children, and is a shining light for Jesus in a dark, drab, and destitute corner of an unknown, frigid and forgotten world.
For the kids she helps, she is God's story — miracle from three poofs.
What faith shadows have you faced?
God has your cell number, are you screening or picking up?
What does living in a miracle feel like?