When I was younger, I loved to collect sports cards. I even had a couple of specific players I would collect, though those were a bit unusual. Some kids would collect Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, or Ken Griffey Jr cards. I collected John Stockton and Jose Rios cards. They were great players, but they weren’t flashy or super popular. It seemed like a safe bet.
Gabi Mann has an unusual collection. Her’s isn’t sports cards, or beanie babies, or anything worth much. In fact, most of us would look at her collection and say that it’s just a whole lot of garbage and junk. She’s got pieces of glass, buttons, and beads. There are single earrings, random pins, and seashells. Each item in her collection is tracked with dates and descriptions.
She started collecting these things a few years ago, after she noticed that they were being left in her backyard by crows. You see, when Gabi was young, like 2 or 3 years old, she would spill food while playing outside. The crows caught on, and began to follow her around, swiping whatever food they could from her. Eventually, they even began to bring her gifts of buttons, beads, earrings, and seashells to try and get more food from her. So she began feeding them.
One of the strangest parts of the story of Elijah to me comes right at the beginning of it. In 1 Kings 17:1-7, we’re told that Elijah is fed by ravens in the wilderness. It seemed like a random, far fetched story to me. It turns out that it’s not so random or far fetched.
Ravens and crows are among the smartest birds and animals in the world, capable of solving logical problems. They can learn cause and effect, meaning they can learn the benefits of giving.
But there’s a larger point to Elijah’s story about being fed by ravens. One that applies to those of us who don’t feed birds or want to collect pieces of glass or buttons.
Daily dependance on God.
Elijah found himself in the middle of nowhere, living by a stream. He had no way to get food for himself, since he was hiding from the king. You see, he had just confronted the most powerful person in the country, and now he needed to lay low. So he hid.
And every day, God provided for him.
It sounds like something we wish God would do for us. Sometimes we have too much month and not enough paycheck. And I acknowledge that there are lots of people who live with this feeling not just monthly, but weekly. For you, the story of Elijah is much more close to home than it is for most of us.
Wouldn’t it be nice if God would send a raven with an envelope and a check? We could handle it from there.
The thing that separates Elijah’s story from ours isn’t God’s willingness to provide. It’s Elijah’s willingness to depend on God.
If I hit near the end of the month and still have bills to pay or things to do, I can dip into my savings, or ask friends and family for some help, or sometimes just wait out the awkwardness and discomfort for a few days until I get paid again.
Elijah couldn’t do that. He relied entirely on God’s willingness to feed him. And it’s something you and I are called to do as well. People love the Lord’s prayer, but struggle to live it out. The whole idea of forgiving people just like we’ve been forgiven is challenging in itself. Then there’s this line:
“Give us, this day, our daily bread”
We are told to rely on God daily.
I really struggle with this. I like to plan things out, get details like resources and time ironed out, and then, and only then, act. There isn’t reliance so much as preparedness. And make no mistake, God wants us to plan and prepare, to be strategic with what we have and use our time, energy, and resources effectively.
But there are times we need to put ourselves into a position where we need God to show up.
Elijah couldn’t watch God provide for him via ravens if he stayed at home. Elijah needed to go to an area where the only way for survival and success would be God.
What is something in your life that will utterly fall apart without God?
For me, I can tell that my faith, of all things, is becoming a little too complacent. I live a comfortable, secure enough life that it can be kind of difficult to notice God showing up and providing for me. I need to push myself out, into some spiritual deserts, designed to bring me to my spiritual knees.
Where do you need to go in order to watch God do the miraculous?
I love y’all and there’s nothing you can do about it…