My meal at the local Mongolian BBQ was hot and spicy, and a bit too much of it was left on my shirt. The soft-spoken and sweet Asian waitress brought my wife and I our fortune cookies with the bill. As cookies go, they really aren’t that great, but I eat them nonetheless. Sugar is sugar regardless of its form, and far be it from me to pass up a good sugar buzz.
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my family eating at a Chinese restaurant and the giggling over our fortunes. I remember thinking, “Who thinks these things up?”
“Elegant surroundings will soon be yours.”
“A new business venture is on the horizon.”
“You have a dream. Time to go to bed.”
Being the gross little rug rats we were, we’d often add before or after the fortune the phrase “in the bathroom” which is probably why we giggled so much.
“Elegant surroundings will soon be yours . . . in the bathroom!”
My last fortune, however, got me wondering: Can God speak through a fortune cookie? In fact, my Mongolian BBQ fortune that night said, “Your experiences this week will all make good sense within the year.”
Hmm . . . I’d had some amazingly good and terribly bad experiences that very week. In a lot of ways, it was one of those weeks that both stretched me and blessed me. And my mind was reeling from a bunch of things that didn’t make any sense.
What did I do wrong? What could I have done better? Why is God so good to me even when I don’t deserve it?
When I cracked the cookie and read, “Your experiences this week will all make good sense within the year,” I literally chuckled as I wondered out loud to my wife, “Hope this one is true.” I even snapped a picture of it with my iPhone.
I know it’s a bit silly. “Seriously? Are you telling me that God spoke to you through a cookie (and a stupid fortune cookie at that)? That sounds a bit too mystical for me.”
But if God is God (and He is), and He is sovereign and powerful (and He is), can’t He use anything He chooses to get our attention?
Remember the story of Balaam and his donkey in Numbers 22? God used an animal to speak to a guy who was way off course. Weird? Yup. Mystical? Oh yeah. Real? Absolutely.
Now, I’m not suggesting that donkey-talk or cookie-talk is normal. I’m certainly not encouraging you to look for God’s voice or direction in a can of alphabet soup or in your next crossword puzzle.
That being said, I do want to remind you that God is mysterious. In fact, it seems He sometimes delights in offending our sensibleness with His awe-inspiring mysteriousness.
Please don’t crack your next fortune cookie looking for God, but please don’t box God into your little rational and explainable world. He’s bigger than you think. His ways are not our ways, and sometimes He will absolutely surprise you.
Don’t go sideways. Don’t go off half-cocked simply based on something bizarre (that’s how cults get started!), but don’t discount God’s use of the supernatural either. His ways are often extraordinary.
Get in the Word.
Get godly counsel.
Get on your face. When something unusual and unexpected happens, pray and cry out, “God are you trying to get my attention? Is there something here I need to see or know?”
God’s not magical, but He is mystical. And if He can use a donkey, I’m pretty sure He can use anything or anyone to get our attention.
At least it’s something to think about.
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)