“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice”

(1 Samuel 15:22, NKJV).

Obedience. It’s a word I’ve struggled with since I was a toddler. No one knew that better than my parents. I flopped my toe across every line they drew in front of me—and I nearly always paid a price for my disobedience. But at 26 I became a Christian. Surely disobedience wouldn’t be a problem any longer…right?

Wrong. I still struggle with it to this day, though I know I’ve made a lot of progress—not because I’m faithful but because God is. I’ve learned this “obedience thing” is a lifelong process, and God is committed to teaching us how to walk in it.

There are reasons for that, one of them being that when we walk in obedience, God does amazing things through us. I used to think it was some sort of magical formula: I’d obey God, and He’d reward me with something wonderful. Wrong again. (I suppose I’ve been slow in understanding this concept because, somehow, I still think it’s all about me. I’m the only one who’s ever thought that, right?)

And then a couple of days ago I came across the journal my mom was using just before she died. She filled scores of them through the years, but this one is especially meaningful, as it gives me a glimpse into her thoughts and prayers, her communication with God in her last days on earth. The final entry, in her shaky handwriting, reads, “Obedience is the key word of miracles. Sometimes we feel prompted by God to do something that makes no sense, but if we do it, it becomes a miracle.”

Wow. Mom was 90 years old when she penned those words, and she had no idea how they would bless me after she was gone. I now have them in the top drawer of my desk, where I can pull them out and read them often—each time I’m tempted to flop my toe across God’s line. Do I need a miracle in my life, either for myself or someone else? Most of the time, I do. And now I know the key to seeing that miracle come to pass: be obedient to that still, small voice inside that prompts us to obey God, whether it makes sense at the moment or not. God, in His faithfulness, will accomplish the rest.