I grew up in a church where all forms of gambling (including Bingo) were considered taboo. When my next door neighbor, who was a little, old lady who had been in the church since the 1920’s, wanted to tell me a gambling joke, I was all ears. She said, “There was a man who wanted to win the lottery real bad so he prayed, ‘Lord, if you let me win the lottery, I’ll pay my tithe and give another 10% to missions.’ Do you know what the Lord said back to him?” I said, “Depart from me, I never knew you?” She shook her said and whispered, “Buy a ticket!” I laughed then because it was out of character for who I thought God was. I laugh now because we all do something similar to Him when we want something big.
In 2 Kings 3, the armies of Israel and Judah went to attack Moab because they quit paying tribute. They took the wilderness route so as not to be seen. When they got close, the men were tired and out of water. They called for Elisha to ask God for help. He told them to dig ditches and they would be filled with water even though it wouldn’t rain. It didn’t make sense, but the army complied. The next morning a pool of water ran through the valley filling all the holes giving the men and animals enough to drink. The opposing army showed up, saw the red morning sky reflecting in the pools and thought it was blood. They went down to plunder on,y to be surprised and were defeated.
One of my favorite quotes says, “Pray like it depends on God. Work like it depends on you.” We are good about asking God for things like it depends on Him, but we’re not always good about digging those ditches like the armies of Israel. Sometimes the ditches were asked to dig won’t make sense. Dig them anyway. God’s actions are motivated by our faith in action. That’s the pattern of the Bible. God doesn’t always answer big prayers, but He does honor big faith in action that accompanies those prayers. What ditches do you need to be digging right now to prepare for God’s answer? Pick up a shovel today and start digging ditches. Don’t wait. Put some action to your faith. Do your part and expect God to do His.