King Ahab and his wife Jezebel- who eventually would become the archetype of scandalous women- were bad news. They worshipped the Baals, set up Ashera poles and did all those detestable things that we see in the Old Testament. So,the Lord sent Elisha, his servant and mouthpiece to condemn their actions and to announce that because they were dumb, a drought would hit the land. Not only that, but the only way the people would see rain in the coming years would be at Elisha’s command. The land would be dry until the man who had no problem cursing 42 people to death-by-she-bear said so.
(Side note, God would never trust me with any of this. And that is a horrible shame- for me. Oh, the things I would accomplish…)
As it goes, after proclaiming judgment, the Lord told Elisha to go into hiding at the Kerith Ravine. There, he had water from a stream and was fed by ravens morning and evening. And seemed to have a decent vacation.
(Okay, not really, but we don’t need any more of the story for now)
Various elements of this story compete for attention, but I’m going to focus on God’s provision for His man, who’d been completely obedient to him. I’m not sure which is more miraculous, the obedience, or the fowl delivery service. Ravens bringing food to people? Nope. Not a thing. They’d more likely steal a fry right out of a man’s hands than bring him a bagel and cold cuts every morning and evening. How often have we desired the same thing? How much have we hoped that a divinely-guided gopher would emerge from a tunnel dug right to our front door in order to supply next month’s mortgage payment? Gophers aren’t really even that cool, so it isn’t like we’re asking for much with that kind of a request, right? When Jesus had to pay taxes, he told Peter to go fishing and he’d find a four drachma coin in the mouth of the first fish he reeled in. We want our miracles to… look miraculous, don’t we?
It’s a better story than God prompting a friend or neighbor toward generosity. Or is it? Frankly, I think that a person popping up out of nowhere to supply our needs is much more miraculous than a random animal doing it. Why? Because people are selfish and disobedient. Sometimes, we’re also largely unlikeable and possibly ugly. But God likes to work in mundanity as much as He seems to enjoy making a huge scene. Which can be scary, because unlike miracles, mundane things can be easy to miss. When I finally die and get to that point in the afterlife where everything becomes obscenely clear, I’ll likely be embarrassed at how often God provided for me and I completely missed it. Hopefully, I’ll have the sense to be appalled at how often I took credit for it. But I’ll most likely be floored at the means by which the blessing was delivered- the times when I asked for writing in the sky and was deftly delivered a post-it note. I might grumble about a completely human inability to pick up on subtlety, but that’s my problem, isn’t it? If it is, it’s likely more that I’m not paying attention or I’m being too self-absorbed to pick up on the Lord speaking or doing His thing.
I think all I can do is pray- Oh Lord, please- be super freaking obvious about all the things you do. Or at least, open my eyes to see what you’re up to. Because sometimes you’re sly.