Have you ever prayed a prayer that would require God’s constant vigilance if He chose to respond affirmatively? I petitioned God that way more than 30 years ago.
My college roommate and I had discovered a fantastic Chinese food restaurant within walking distance of our dorm. We loved the chicken chow mien and pork fried rice. Even the fortune cookies tasted divine. The contents of those cookies, however, soon consumed us.
The accuracy of the little slips of paper tucked inside our dessert stirred up awe and wonder at first. But when every prediction consistently came true, it downright spooked us.
The Bible warns us to have nothing to do with fortune-tellers and horoscopes. “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:31 NIV)
My roommate understood my strong conviction to never again break open a fortune cookie. After all, I didn’t want to be “defiled by them.” But when I came home for spring break, and declined my cookie for “religious reasons” my sister rocked with laughter. Even my parents snickered. They hoped I wouldn’t notice.
It’s not that my family doesn’t endeavor to obey God, they do. It’s just they thought I was obsessing. Was I? I grew up loving Chinese food. Gorgeous art from the Orient typifies much of my mother’s décor to this day. What’s more, when my sister and I were little and our family ate Asian food at home, Dad set a card table with folded legs on top of coffee cans. We sat on the floor with our bare feet tucked under the low table and fed ourselves with chopsticks.
Caught in a conundrum, I wondered if fortune cookies could defile me. Or was I obsessing? Watching my family break open their cookies and laugh at the contents begged my question.
The Bible allows us freedom to keep in step with the Spirit rather than in bondage to the law. “Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. (Romans 14:22 NLT)
I asked God for the freedom to eat fortune cookies, and prayed a prayer He continues to honor decades later. From that day forward, one of three things happens – just like I asked:
- My cookie contains a silly little saying like, “One who overeats grows fat” or a wise proverb such as, “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”
- A check in my spirit flashes a red light and I pass on the cookie.
- God speaks prophetically into my current circumstances.
The third option rarely occurs. When it does, my jaw drops in awe and wonder at God’s supernatural ways. I’ve learned that the same God who spoke to Balaam through a donkey (see Numbers 22:28) can speak to me through a fortune cookie.
God continues to protect me from freaky fortunes, and when He gives me the nod, I eagerly crack open my treat. Will I giggle? Will I ponder? Or will I be transformed?